Raven Books has signed Social Creature, a "Ripley story for the Instagram age" by Tara Isabella Burton.
Raven publisher Alison Hennessey pre-empted UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) to the title, described as a "dazzling" literary thriller, from Rebecca Carter at Janklow & Nesbit. US rights meanwhile were sold by Emma Parry to Margaux Weisman in one of her first acquisitions since moving to Knopf/Doubleday.
The novel follows Louise who is struggling to survive in New York. Juggling a series of poorly paid jobs, renting a shabby flat, being cat-called by her creepy neighbour, she dreams of being a writer. And then one day she meets Lavinia. Lavinia who has everything – looks, money, clothes, friends, an amazing apartment… Lavinia invites Louise into her charmed circle, takes her to the best parties, bars, the opera, shares her clothes, her uber account. Louise knows that this can’t last for ever, but just how far is she prepared to go to have this life? Or rather, to have Lavinia’s life?
Hennessey said: "Stylish, sinister suspense at its very best, Social Creature combines elements of some of my favourite books – The Talented Mr Ripley and The Secret History – with a freshness and originality all of its own. I knew from the very first pages of Tara’s stunning debut that this was something very special, and a book I just had to publish."
Carter said: "I’ve long been an admirer of Alison Hennessey’s publishing acumen, and so Raven Books, her new list, feels like the perfect home for a novel that combines chilling suspense with dazzling literary talent."
Burton said: "I’ve been living with these characters, in one way or another, for years. I’m thrilled to finally see them come to life — and to see them find a UK home at somewhere with such a rich tradition of publishing extraordinary literature as Bloomsbury."
Burton is the winner of the Shiva Naipaul Award for Travel Writing, and has just completed a Doctorate in Theology at Oxford.
Social Creature will be published by Raven Books in June 2018, backed by a major promotional campaign.