Coronet has scooped a novel from broadcaster Jeremy Vine set against the backdrop of post-civil war Catalonia and based on real events surrounding one of Salvador Dali's most famous paintings.
Hannah Black, publisher, bought world rights from Kerr MacRae. The Diver and The Lover will be published in hardback, e-book and audiobook in September 2020.
The novel is billed as a “compelling story of love, art, politics and sacrifice that explores the lengths we will go to for who - or what - we love”. Its synopsis explains: “It is 1951 and sisters Ginny and Meredith have travelled from England to Spain in order to help Meredith recover from a terrible trauma. They discover that the renowned artist Salvador Dali is staying in nearby Port Lligat. Meredith is fascinated by modern art, a legacy of her troubled past, and longs to meet the famous surrealist.
“Dali is embarking on an ambitious new work, but his model has refused to pose. A replacement is found and the lives of the characters become entangled as art, ego, loyalty and the heightened politics of Franco's Spain threaten to undo the fragile bonds that have been forged.”
Vine is a Radio 2 presenter alongside the successor to Channel 5's “The Wright Stuff”, now called “Jeremy Vine”. An accomplished journalist and writer, he has written two non-fiction books in recent years.
He said: “This story comes out of my love for — okay, obsession with — a single painting that hangs in the Kelvingrove Gallery in Glasgow. Salvador Dali's masterwork was posed by a world famous stuntman whom he hung from a gantry in his studio. I am overjoyed to be part of the wonderful Coronet stable with this piece of fiction which is based on a real painting and a real story that mean so much to me.”
Black added: “I’m delighted to be publishing this wonderfully accomplished novel. The story has wide appeal, taking in art, history and the relationship between sisters. Jeremy is a fine storyteller, the writing is beautifully layered and moving with a keen understanding of the ways in which love and the pursuit of self-expression can drive people to desperate acts. A compelling new voice in the fiction market.”