#Merky Books signs Rivers Solomon's 'astonishing' gothic novel

#Merky Books signs Rivers Solomon's 'astonishing' gothic novel

American author Rivers Solomon's gothic novel will be published by #Merky Books in 2021.

Jason Arthur, William Heinemann publisher, has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights excluding Canada for the novel Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon. The book was acquired from Caspian Dennis at Abner Stein on behalf of Farrar, Straus & Giroux and Seth Fishman at The Gernert Company.

Sorrowland will be published by #Merky Books in spring/summer 2021.

Billed by the publisher as "a genre-bending work of gothic fiction that wrestles with the tangled history of racism in America and the marginalisation of society’s undesirables", it follows a black woman with albinism, the mother of infant twins, who is hunted after escaping a religious compound, then discovers that her body is metamorphosing and that she is developing extra-sensory powers.

The synopsis reads: "Alone in the woods, a hunted woman gives birth to twins and raises them away from the influence of the outside world.  But something is wrong–not with them, but with her own body. It's itching, it's stronger, it's... not normal.

"To understand her body’s metamorphosis, Vern must investigate not just the secluded religious compound she fled but the violent history of dehumanization, medical experimentation, and genocide that produced it. In the course of reclaiming her own darkness, Vern learns that monsters aren’t just individuals, but entire histories, systems, and nations."

Arthur said: "What strikes you when reading Sorrowland is its authority and urgency. It’s an astonishing novel, not only for the story it tells–the odyssey and transformation of Vern, through a nightmarish yet recognisable landscape–but also for the story it tells about today: the history of racism in America, the systems of oppression that continue to exert such an extraordinary force in our world, the increasing marginalisation of those society deems to be undesirable. This is an important, vital and groundbreaking work of literature, and one that we are privileged to be publishing at #Merky Books."

Solomon said: "Life in the margins is an uncanny existence. Society’s undesirables are likened to the stuff of nightmares, alternatingly deemed inhuman, hysterical, unhinged, hyperviolent, hypersexual–monsters. The speculative, then, is the perfect space within literary fiction to investigate the surreality of these experiences, to question what it means to be a real-life Frankenstein’s creature. Literature has long grappled with the monstrous and I wrote Sorrowland as a part of the literary tradition that problematizes who and who isn’t branded the monster."

Solomon is the author of the début novel An Unkindness of Ghosts (Akashic Books) which was shortlisted for various awards. In addition to appearing on the Stonewall Honor List and winning a Firecracker Award, the author's début was considered a best book of the year by various outlets. Solomon writes stories that cross genres and shorter works by the author have been featured in the New York Times Opinion and Best American Short Stories. Solomon grew up between California, Indiana and Texas, and New York but is now based in the UK.