Tinder Press signs Francesca Reece's 'unsettling' debut

Tinder Press signs Francesca Reece's 'unsettling' debut

Tinder Press has acquired author Francesca Reece’s "tour de force of a début" and plans to make the novel its launch title for summer 2021.

Amy Perkins, assistant editor at Tinder Press, pre-empted UK and Commonwealth rights in a two-book deal from Charlotte Seymour at Andrew Nurnberg Associates.

Voyeur, which touches on themes such as privilege in the arts, the male gaze and memory, tells the story of Leah, a young British woman living a restless existence in modern day Paris, who finds herself signing up to spend a summer transcribing the diaries of a notable author at his home in the south of France.

The blurb reads: "After answering a job advert on a whim, Leah becomes the writer’s assistant to Michael Young, the once bright star of the London literary world, a role that demands her presence at his rambling but glorious property in the south of France for the summer. Leah’s work is to transcribe Michael’s diaries from his philandering life in 1960s London, due to his belief that these hold the key to unlock his creativity and produce his new masterpiece. However, unbeknown to Leah, Michael has been startled by her striking resemblance to a woman contained within these diaries – a woman he was obsessed with, and continues to be until this day. Under the bright summer sun, what happened to that young woman all those years ago begins to be revealed, with hugely unsettling consequences."

Seymour approached Reece about becoming her agent early last year after she won the 2019 Desperate Literature Prize for her short story "So Long Sarajevo/They Miss You So Badly". But Seymour admitted she had no idea what was about to hit her, describing Reece's début as "a propulsively funny, clever, sexy and unsettling novel".

Perkins said: "I’ll never forget standing on the platform at Victoria station as I began to read Francesca’s novel and instantly falling head over heels for her stunning narrative voice. It’s a novel that satisfies on every level – the pin-sharp prose, thrilling plotting and gorgeous setting. As well as being a reading pleasure, it’s also a book that weaves in the subjects of internalised male gaze, the contradictions of our class structure, and power imbalances in relationships. It’s a tour de force of a début and I can’t wait to introduce it to the world."

Reece added: "For such a long time I thought that this novel was doomed to gather dust in the proverbial bottom drawer, and I’m just so thankful to Charlotte for picking it up and having faith in it. I wanted to write a book that was a meditation on privilege in the arts, the male gaze, memory, and the act of storytelling itself – but above all I wrote Voyeur as a means of escape while attempting to shamble towards some kind of semblance of adult life; I’m still just in total, dazed disbelief that it’s seeing the light of day."