Picador swoops for Maroo's 'exceptional' debut

Picador swoops for Maroo's 'exceptional' debut

Picador has signed Western Lane, the “exceptional” debut novel by Chetna Maroo.

Ravi Mirchandani, Picador’s editor-in-chief, acquired UK and Commonwealth, excluding Canada, at auction from Tracy Bohan at the Wylie Agency. Picador will publish in spring 2023. Mitzi Angel has acquired US rights for Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and Martha Kanya-Forster of Knopf will publish in Canada.

The synopsis explains: “Western Lane tells the story of Gopi, the youngest of three sisters living with their father in Luton. Their mother has died, their father’s grief is palpable but unarticulated. Neglecting the community in which the family has been rooted, the girls' father becomes obsessed with teaching his daughters to play squash at the local leisure centre. Gopi is talented, an intense and strategic student of the game, and soon her world starts to shrink down to the small square space of the court...”

Maroo was born in Kenya and grew up in Britain. Her stories have been published in the Stinging Fly, the Dublin Review, the Cincinnati Review and the Bristol and Bridport prize anthologies.

Mirchandani said: “I was struck by the quiet and powerful economy of Chetna’s writing from the opening pages of her exceptional novel, but as I read on, it was her deft and subtle handling of her themes - of grief and loss, of the immigrant experience, of the misunderstandings that can take place even between those who love and know each other well - that so moved me. So much in this beautiful book, as so often in life, lies between the sentences, in what is not said, as much as in what is.”