Faber Children's has bought a “seductive and spine-tinglingly brilliant” French YA novel after only reading a short translation sample.
Alice Swan, the division's editorial director, acquired world English rights for Songe à la Douceur by Clémentine Beauvais from Kirsty McLachlan at David Godwin Associates. The book was originally published by French publishing house Sarbacane last year.
It will be translated by Sam Taylor and published in the UK next July as In Paris with You, inspired by the James Fenton poem of the same name.
Swan said: "It's the first novel I've bought in translation. I would never normally acquire a novel without reading it. But I shared the manuscript with French-speaking colleagues and their response was so overwhelmingly positive that it felt worth the risk. I was nervous to read the translation, but it was an incredible reading experience - and thrilling to know that we'd already bought the book."
She added: “Clémentine's story is so unusual, so seductive and so spine-tinglingly brilliant, and Sam's translation is outstanding from start to finish."
Beauvais, who is also the author of YA novel Piglettes (Puskin Press), said: “I was absolutely delighted and also honoured to hear that Faber, which has such legendary status in the publishing of poetry and of children's and young adult literature, wanted to acquire my novel.”
The French-born writer, who is now based in London, said the book is “such a difficult book to translate” and added: “I'm amazed by Sam's creation. It's full of inventiveness, wit and intelligence; it's intimately close to my own novel, and at the same time his own voice sings through.”
Taylor described it as “both the most difficult and most enjoyable translation” he has worked on. He said: “I’ve translated more than 20 novels, many of them prize-winners and best-sellers, but I’ve never been more passionate about a book than I am about In Paris With You.
"It’s a lyrical, intelligent, sexy, romantic and very funny novel about life and love in the 21st century, and it was both the most difficult and most enjoyable translation I’ve ever done.”
Beauvais is the co-host of the "Kid You Not" podcast on children's literature and her books have previously been published by Hachette Children's Group and Bloomsbury.