Serpent’s Tail has acquired a novella, This is Pleasure by Mary Gaitskill, about the “unravelling of the life of a male publisher undone by allegations of sexual impropriety and harassment” which was first published in the New Yorker earlier this month.
Serpent’s Tail publisher Hannah Westland acquired UK and Commonwealth rights excluding Canada including audio from Tracy Bohan at the Wylie Agency. Serpent’s Tail will publish the novella in a format hardback at £7.99 in November 2019.
This is Pleasure was published in the New Yorker on 8th July. It was described by the magazine's fiction editor Deborah Treisman as a response to "many #MeToo incidents of the past couple of years, in which men were accused of workplace harassment and lost their jobs or careers".
Gaitskill's third novel, The Mare, was The Bookseller's Book of the Month in July 2016, eight years after her second novel, Veronica (both published by Serpent's Tail). Her debut novel, Two Girls, Fat and Thin, was published by Chatto in 1991 following her collection of short stories Bad Behaviour (Sceptre) in 1988.
Westland said: "This is Pleasure is an extraordinary work by one of the world’s finest writers, and achieves more in 15,000 words than most full-length novels. Following the unravelling of the life of a male publisher undone by allegations of sexual impropriety and harassment, and the female friend who tries to understand, and explain, his actions, it looks unflinchingly at our present moment and shows us there are many sides to every story.
“Mary Gaitskill has spent her whole career mining the complexity of human relationships on both an intimate and societal scale with wisdom and grace; here her insights are more piercing and timely than ever. We expect this to be the most talked about book of this autumn, read feverishly in one sitting, shared with friends, and fiercely debated.”
It comes after Kristen Roupenian’s provocative tale of online dating, Cat Person, was published as a standalone paperback by Jonathan Cape in May last year following its New Yorker publication in December 2017.