John Murray pre-empts Lichtarowicz's Soviet-set novel on exclusive submission

John Murray pre-empts Lichtarowicz's Soviet-set novel on exclusive submission

Paula Lichtarowicz's latest novel, inspired by her grandmother's life, has gone to John Murray in a pre-empt.

Publisher Jocasta Hamilton pre-empted world rights in The Snow Hare on an exclusive submission from Clare Alexander at Aitken Alexander in “a strong” five-figure deal, the publisher said. Helen O’Hare at Little, Brown US has acquired North American rights and The Snow Hare will be John Murray’s lead fiction title for the Frankfurt Book Fair. 

“Inspired by the author’s grandmother, The Snow Hare is a beautiful, wrenching novel about love and consequences and our incredible capacity for finding joy and cultivating hope in the darkest of times,” the blurb reads. “As Lena is dying, scenes from her storied life return to her: she sees the earnest young girl determined to become a doctor; the reluctant wife of an army officer; and the baby daughter that changed her. She sees her Polish town transformed almost overnight by the Soviets and whispers of war are quickly followed by Lena and her family, now deemed enemies of the state, being sent to Siberia. Here in the bitterly cold, endless forest, despite constant hunger and back-backing work, Lena falls in love for the first time. But the choices she makes will haunt her for the rest of her life.” 

Hamilton says: “Paula is a wonderfully perceptive, emotionally interesting and beautiful writer. She casts a fresh light on the well-worn subject of war and reminds us of the devastating impact of politics and regime changes on individuals. In The Snow Hare she has conjured a complete life in scenes of unforgettable power and poignancy, while showing that, often, the hardest person to forgive is ourselves. It will be a lead title for us in January 2023.”  

Lichtarowicz, who is based in London, commented: “I’m thrilled that Jocasta and John Murray are publishing The Snow Hare. It’s a deeply personal novel based on my beloved babcia’s journey from Southern Poland to Britain, by way of Siberia, during the Second World War. It was a journey that involved hardship and heartbreak almost beyond my understanding, and a story she could only bear to tell towards the end of her life. In reinterpreting my grandmother’s experiences, The Snow Hare became about the choices we make when we feel we have no choice, and the decisions we take, even in the grimmest of circumstances, to be fully human. I like to think Baba – irrepressible, indomitable, a displaced survivor like so many — would approve.”   

The author's previous titles, Creative Truths in Provincial Policing and The First Book of Calamity Leek, were published by Penguin.