Hutchinson and Vintage have acquired Snow Country, a new novel by Sebastian Faulks set in Austria, that he has been wanting to write for at least a decade.
The deal for UK and Commonwealth rights was struck with Clare Alexander of Aitken Alexander for an undisclosed sum, and the book will be published in hardback by Hutchinson in Autumn 2021 and as a Vintage paperback in 2022.
Set in 1933, and in the familiar territory of Faulks' seventh novel Human Traces, Snow Country “looks back to the Vienna of Klimt and Freud and forward to the shadow that is starting to fall over Europe”. According to the publisher, the new book is “an intensely personal story that focuses on Lena, a spirited girl born with nothing and Anton, an educated man of passion and self-doubt”.
Faulks said: “I have been wanting to write this novel for at least 10 years. To return to the country of Human Traces was exciting for me and then to find there was so much still there...
“The second half was written during the lockdown, in circumstances the radio assured us hourly were ‘unprecedented’. But they weren’t, were they? Isabelle, the main female character in Birdsong, had, after all, died of Spanish flu, a virus more widespread and deadly than Covid-19. There is an echo of that death in the new book.
“Snow Country is not a sequel to Human Traces, any more than Charlotte Gray was a sequel to The Girl at the Lion d’Or. But just as there was a loosely linked French trilogy, so I hope one day to write a third novel set in Austria and so complete my exploration of what a peculiar species we belong to."
Rachel Cugnoni, his editor, said: “This is Sebastian Faulks in his finest form. Such exceptional writing attached to a story of gripping intensity and set during a period of huge unrest in the world that brings with it events that crash in on the lives of ordinary people.It’s always a privilege to publish Sebastian and I couldn’t be more delighted to be working with him again on this capacious, satisfying feast of a novel.”