So I was catching up with the Vulture blog at New York, and I saw where Janklow & Nesbit agent Eric Simonoff had reportedly waved off a million-dollar pre-empt for The Garygole, a novel by Andrew Davidson described in the item as “a densely packed story about a car-accident victim in the burn ward befriended by a mysterious woman who claims to be a stone carver in a fifteenth-century German abbey.”
A Google search on Davidson and publishing-related matters turned up a children’s illustrator, but when I emailed Simonoff to learn more about the submission, he immediately let me know we were talking about an altogether different fellow. The debut novel was originally sold to Random House Canada last year, and Davidson has been revising diligently for the last four months based on editor Anne Collins‘s notes. “I have been raving to editors in New York and London for months about this book to the point that some of them questioned my sanity,” Simonoff added. “But it delivers on all promises… Let’s just say, it is really really really good. It is both genuinely literary and enormously commercial.” He also noted that editors who’ve seen the manuscript compare it to authors like Umberto Eco, Michael Ondatje, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and… Chuck Palahniuk?
OK, that’s got my attention, and Simonoff’s the agent who got Vikram Chandra seven figures for Sacred Games, so he presumably knows from big books; let’s just hope whoever eventually signs Davidson to what Michael Cader will undoubtedly call a “major deal” really does score a The Shadow of the Wind rather than, say, the next The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters…
UPDATE: The Vulture followed up last night with a report that Gerald Howard at Doubleday won the auction, reportedly for $1.25 million.