Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

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By Carmen Comment

Every year the Sunday Observer gets Kate Figes to ask various publishers what books they wanted to do well, but didn’t, and which they could have bought but didn’t have a chance (or turned down.) Said Transworld‘s Marianne Vellmans about Nina Lugovskaya‘s I WANT TO LIVE: “We worked hard to make the text accessible, as I believe there is nothing as effective to bring a dark period of history to life than this kind of eyewitness account by an innocent participant. We had fantastic reviews and some compared it to Anne Frank‘s Diary. But we sold less than 3,000 copies.” More fascinating was how certain books that were surefire sellers in America – such as Jeanette Walls‘ THE GLASS CASTLE – just about flopped in the UK. “I think it’s because it bucks the trend and doesn’t wallow in the misery,” said Virago publisher Lennie Goodings. “Some seriously awful things happened to her as a child but she chooses to write with pity.”