Picador has won an auction for a book told in “hallucinatory poetic prose”.
Publisher Paul Baggaley bought UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding New Zealand, to The Invisible Mile by David Coventry for a five-figure sum from Caspian Dennis at Abner Stein, on behalf of Andy Kifer at The Gernert Company.
Based on a true story, The Invisible Mile tells the story of five Australian and New Zealand cyclists who in 1928 formed the first English-speaking team to ride in the Tour de France.
Picador said the novel “describes in a wonderful poetic and visceral voice what it was like to ride in this race (the chaos, danger and rivalries), the extraordinary lengths to which the riders pushed themselves, suffering horrific injuries, riding through the night in pitch dark, and the ways they staved off the pain, through camaraderie, through sexual conquest, through drink, and through drugs (cocaine for energy, opium for pain)”.
Baggaley said: “I was bewitched by this debut novel: it is a remarkable book, combining fictional sports writing of the highest order with a wartime mystery told in hallucinatory poetic prose.”
The Invisible Mile was published in New Zealand by Victoria University Press in June this year.
The book has also sold to Atlas Contact in The Netherlands and Yediot in Israel.
Picador will publish The Invisible Mile in June 2016.