Hamish Hamilton has bought the second novel of Sophie Mackintosh, whose debut The Water Cure was acquired in a seven-way auction and longlisted for 2018's Man Booker Prize. The premise for her new book, Blue Ticket, imagines a world in which girls are told via a lottery system whether or not they have been "granted" children, thus relieving them of "the terrible burden of choice".
Scheduled for hardback publication in Spring 2020, Blue Ticket is pitched as "a sly, urgent enquiry into free will, social expectation and the fraught space of motherhood", described by Hamish Hamilton as a novel that "pushes beneath the skin of female identity and patriarchal violence, to the point where human longing meets our animal bodies".
The blurb for the book reads: "Calla knows how the lottery works. Everyone does. On the day of your first bleed, you report to the station to learn what kind of woman you will be. A white ticket grants you children. A blue ticket grants you freedom. You are relieved of the terrible burden of choice. And, once you’ve taken your ticket, there is no going back. But – what if the life you’re given is the wrong one?"
Assistant editor Hermione Thompson acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in the work from Harriet Moore at David Higham and said it was all the team could talk about.
"The idea of the lottery is so arresting – it immediately invites the reader to consider the colour of her own ticket – and, as with everything Sophie writes, it is told with exquisite control and aching beauty," enthused Thompson.
"Her worlds are always washed with a gorgeous, irresistible strangeness all the more unsettling for its nagging familiarity, its dark undertow of truth. Sophie Mackintosh is an extremely special author and it is a privilege to publish her on the Hamish Hamilton list."