No Exit Press will publish Nick, a prequel to F Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby by Michael Farris Smith, in February 2021, the year that marks the 125th anniversary of Fitzgerald's birth.
Editor-in-chief Geoffrey Mulligan acquired UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) from Nora Rawn on behalf of Ellen Levine at Trident Media Group. Nick will be published simultaneously in the US by Little, Brown.
It will show the novel's narrator Nick Carraway in his early life, leading up to his meeting with Gatsby. Nick's story sees him in the trenches of the First World War through to his redemptive journey that takes him from a whirlwind Paris romance to New Orleans.
Mulligan said: "In Nick, Michael has created an exceptional story: an inspired concept realised with delicate, rhythmic prose, profound characterisation and deep emotion. The trenches and the bomb craters are utterly vivid, the silence of the tunnels deafening. And the ending — the clever ending that brought Nick’s story to a close while opening up the world of West Egg — is perfect. Nick is a brilliant novel that will enhance Michael’s considerable international reputation."
Farris Smith commented: "I’ve always been drawn to Nick Carraway as a character, his feelings on turning 30 and a decade of uncertainty before him have always rung true to my own emotions when I was the same age. And I still feel that way much of the time, torn between the revelations of what we discover in life and the abandon of those same discoveries.
"The last time I read Gatsby, a few years ago, Nick stayed in my imagination, and he reveals so little about himself in the story, I couldn’t help but begin to create him in my mind, and I knew the only way to get it out was to put it on the page. So I embraced the idea and dove into it with all those emotions fuelling the creation."
No Exit Press also publishes Farris Smith's Desperation Road (2017) The Fighter (2018) and Blackwood (2020).