Daunt Books Publishing has acquired the "extraordinary" novel Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney.
Co-publisher Željka Marošević bought British Commonwealth rights from Sheila Crowley at Curtis Brown on behalf of Lisa Bankoff at ICM. St Martin’s Press will publish the novel in the US in January 2017.
Taking place over one night, on New Year’s eve in 1984, the novel follows the inimitable 85-year-old Lillian Boxfish as she walks across Manhattan and reflects on the great events that have shaped her life and the life of the city, from the Jazz Age to the onset of the AIDS epidemic; the Great Depression to the birth of hip-hop. The character of Lillian Boxfish is inspired by the life of Margaret Fishback, a protofeminist and the highest paid female advertising copywriter in the world in the 1930s thanks to her work at Macy’s department store.
Marošević said: "With great skill, verve and the wit of Dorothy Parker, Kathleen Rooney has brought to life the sharp and savvy Lillian Boxfish and created a paean to cities and flânerie. Lillian Boxfish is an unforgettable character in this completely irresistible love letter to New York."
Rooney said: "It's an honour to have Lillian Boxfish find a home in the company of wonderful work old and new by Virginia Woolf and Nathanael West as well as Idra Novey and Laura van den Berg. Because Lillian is a flâneuse, it's especially exciting to have the novel coming out in the UK, a country with such strong tradition of both urban and rural walking from De Quincey to Wordsworth and beyond."
Daunt Books will publish Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk in June 2017.