Harvill Secker has landed the new novel from Edward St Aubyn, the author's first major work since At Last (Picador) concluded his Patrick Melrose series in 2011.
Kate Harvey, deputy publishing director, who formerly published St Aubyn at Picador, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, including audio, from Peter Straus at RCW. Double Blind will be published in March 2021. North American rights went to Eric Chinski at Farrar, Straus & Giroux with translation rights being snapped up around the world.
The “thrilling” new novel sees St Aubyn in exciting new territory, looking at the fields of ecology, genetics, neuroscience and psychoanalysis through the lens of fiction.
Double Blind focuses on a trio of close friends, Olivia, Francis and Lucy, who are bound together early in the book by love and by shocking news. The story unfolds over the course of a year that is transformative for them and their circle, in ways both intimate and life-shattering. The publisher said: “Exploring themes of inheritance, determinism and freedom, it is a book about the headlong pursuit of knowledge – for pleasure, revelation, money, sanity, or survival – and the consequences of fleeing what we already know about others and ourselves.”
Harvey said: “From the very first paragraph, inside the mind of a man walking though woodland, you know you’re in the world of St Aubyn. But there’s a new expansiveness, a sense of looking outward. Within the fabric of a beautifully dramatised, swiftly paced novel there are rich seams of ideas in science and philosophy, explored in ways that are compassionate, playful and deeply thought through. It’s very much about our world, now: I think it will surprise readers as well as transport them. It’s stunning.’
The author's Patrick Melrose novels have sold half a million copies according to the publisher and were adapted into a Bafta-winning Sky Atlantic show starring Benedict Cumberbatch. In the UK, St Aubyn has sold a total of 218,009 books for £1.7m through Nielsen BookScan, with Mother's Milk his bestseller, at 60,683 copies sold in paperback.
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