Verso Fiction has bought a prize-winning novel by Olivier Guez about Josef Mengele's escape from justice, which has already sold 300,000 copies in France.
Fiction editor Cian McCourt acquired UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) for The Disappearance of Josef Mengele from Heidi Warneke at Éditions Grasset. It will be released in paperback on 9th June.
The book was first published in France in 2017, going on to win the Prix Renaudot. It has been translated into 13 languages and is currently being made into a film. Georgia de Chamberet has now translated the book into English for the first time.
It is based on the story of Mengele, also known as the Angel of Death, who performed deadly experiments on prisoners and was a member of the team of doctors who selected victims to be killed in the gas chambers. After the war, Mengele fled to South America where he evaded capture for the rest of his life.
The synopsis states: "In this darkly fascinating tale, novelist Olivier Guez follows Mengele’s trail after he left Europe and hid undercover, first in Buenos Aires and then quietly disappearing into the humid jungles of Brazil..."
The book is the third title released by the Verso Fiction imprint, which launched last year with Vigdis Hjorth's novel Will and Testament and short story collection Kitchen Curse by Eka Kurniawan.