Publisher: Grove Press
The Heavens is a brilliant literary novel with a plot that grabs you from the opening. It is a book that defines its own terms—it is an imaginative high-concept novel but one that has a powerful impact for our present political moment. We made a speedy offer having gotten great reads in-house and look forward to building on this enthusiasm. Sandra Newman’s previous novel, The Country of Ice Cream Star, was longlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Folio Prize, and named one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post and NPR. The Heavens is just as brilliant as Ice Cream Star but is much more approachable, with greater commercial promise as well as the literary power to win a major prize. Sandra is a brilliantly talented writer who has been published in Granta and Harper’s and studied for an MFA with W. G. Sebald at the University of East Anglia in England, where she lived for a time before moving back to New York. She deserves to be better known in the U.S. Sandra has a huge following on Twitter, where her brand of politically engaged humor has become particularly sharp following the election of Trump. She has over 16,000 followers and is very well-connected to writers and members of the literary media (including Lauren Groff, Celeste Ng, and Kate Atkinson). Sandra has a very interesting writing profile, having written memoir, acclaimed novels, and three books about writing/criticism. Coupled with her unusual Twitter profile, this could make her an ideal person for a major profile around this book. This novel lends itself to discussion—about the power of dreams, the questions of how we might try to change our world for the better, and about how long-gone histories still imprint our own. It would be an ideal novel to discuss on radio coverage or in book groups. There is already significant film/TV interest in this title, which is being represented by United Talent Agency in Los Angeles. It is eminently adaptable. Sandra herself describes the novel as “If Jonathan Lethem wrote The Time Traveler’s Wife, but with Shakespeare in it,” or alternatively, “If Hilary Mantel wrote Outlander, but with the apocalypse in it.” We are approaching authors including Michael Cunningham, Kelly Link, Jennifer Egan, Hilary Mantel, Jonathan Lethem, Neil Gaiman, and Jeff Vandermeer for blurbs.