Scribner UK has pre-empted a Laos-set novel by US writer Paul Yoon, which follows three orphans in one of the “darkest, but relatively little known, episodes in 20th century history”.
Editorial director Chris White acquired UK and Commonwealth rights excluding excluding Canada for Run Me to Earth from Peter Straus at Rogers, Coleridge and White on behalf of Bill Clegg at the Clegg Agency. The book will be published in hardback on 19th March 2020.
The synopsis explains: “Run Me to Earth is a beautiful, aching novel about three children orphaned in 1960s Laos – and how their destinies are entwined across decades. Alisak, Prany and Noi must do what is necessary to survive the perilous landscape of 1960s Laos. When they take shelter in a bombed out field hospital, they meet Vang, a doctor dedicated to helping the wounded at all costs. Soon the teens are serving as motorcycle couriers, delicately navigating their bikes across the fields filled with unexploded bombs, beneath the indiscriminate barrage from the sky.”
White said: “Before I’d even finished the first paragraph, I knew that I had to publish Run Me to Earth. Paul is one of those rare authors seemingly in total command of the page. Every sentence is honed to purest perfection and he’s able to tell a truly epic story in relatively few pages. I was utterly overwhelmed by it.
“All human emotion is here and he lifts the curtain on one of the darkest, but relatively little known, episodes in 20th Century history while compelling the reader to breathlessly follow the characters’ journeys to the very last page. I challenge anybody to pick this and not be utterly enthralled.”
Yoon added: “I wrote it wanting to – and thinking about how to – engage with an inexplicable world event and shed light on it in the way it deserves, the way so much that is going on now – whether here in America or around the world – deserves to be brought to light. I wanted to honour those who have survived and are right now surviving conflicts, caught up in them, dislocated, stripped of family and freedom, forced to start over again. I am grateful to Chris White and Scribner UK for their enthusiasm and commitment to bringing the novel to a UK audience.”
The author has written two story collections: Once the Shore (Sarabande Books) and The Mountain (S&S), which was awarded NPR Best Book of the Year. His novel Snow Hunters (S&S) won the Young Lions Fiction Award in 2014.