Riverrun lands translator Randall's 'brilliant' debut in 48-hour deal

Riverrun lands translator Randall's 'brilliant' debut in 48-hour deal

Literary debut, The Tinkleys, by London-based translator Natasha Randall has been snapped up by riverrun within 48 hours of submission.

Jon Riley, publisher of the Quercus imprint, bought the book last month, calling the suburban-set novel “a triumph” and comparing it to the work of Miranda July and Anne Tyler.

He acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Anna Webber of United Agents after hearing “excitement about it in New York and London before the London BookFair”. He took it to an acquisition meeting hours after being sent it and the deal was signed within 48 hours. Publication of The Tinkleys is slated for the second half of 2020. 

“It is about the strangeness of an American life and the strangeness of the ordinary,” Riley said. “It is had this immediately unique atmosphere. It’s told in an an incredibly knowing voice. It is a very unusual and brilliant book.”

He added the “imaginative, perceptive and wildly funny” novel explores feminist themes, the crisis of masculinity and the effects of technology through the exposure of a seam of secrets within one family: Hank and Jenny Tinkley and their sons, Jesse and Luke.

Riley said it focuses on the “fragmentation of family life Jenny becomes ensnared in a dangerous correspondence with a prison inmate that leads to an opioid addiction”. He added: “Hank, insensitive to the situation around him continues blindly to try to reconcile his outdated notions of ‘being a guy’ with being a modern man, while Jesse is visiting the dark net and Luke’s obsessive behaviour compromises the safety of their home. And Jenny is mostly oblivious to the danger that they are all in.”

Webber added that while it is “a cultural story it is also very universal” and said it had similarities to A M Homes’ writing. She said: “The book was a like a breath of fresh air. I think Natasha is wonderful and I’m hugely excited about it.”

Randall is a writer, literary translator and contributing editor to the New York-based literary magazine A Public Space. Her translations include Notes from Underground by Dostoyevsky (Canongate); A Hero of Our Time by Lermontov (Penguin Classics); We by Zamyatin (Random House) and A Place Bewitched by Gogol (Quercus). Her writing has appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, Los Angeles Book Review and on National Public Radio in America among other outlets. Randall has dual nationality across the US and UK and is based in London.