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Coming in September: Keith Ridgway’s ‘Hawthorn & Child’

Ridgway.jpgIt’s not often that we announce future publications prior to publicly sharing a forthcoming season’s list, but this is a special case, prompted by a gathering curiosity among American readers that has resulted in queries in the form of emails, tweets, and questions over cocktails at totally unrelated events. So, for everyone who has asked, yes, we will be publishing Irish author Keith Ridgway’s Hawthorn & Child, which was published by Granta books back in July of 2012.

We first heard about the book back in April and immediately got our hands on the Granta edition. Within a week, half of the New Directions staff had read the mesmerizing book, and all of us were cooing over it in the hallways. A couple of weeks after that we got the rights and were thoroughly pleased about it. This is absolutely a New Directions book, and we think those of you who’ve fallen in love with Javier Marías or Roberto Bolaño or László Krasznahorkai as much as we did will agree. Wholeheartedly.

Granta’s description of the book:

Hawthorn and Child are mid-ranking detectives tasked with finding significance in the scattered facts. They appear and disappear in the fragments of this book along with a ghost car, a crime boss, a pick-pocket, a dead racing driver, and a pack of wolves. The mysteries are everywhere, but the biggest of all is our mysterious compulsion to solve them. In Hawthorn & Child, the only certainty is that we’ve all misunderstood everything.

Intrigued yet? This novel is incredibly evocative and provocative, and the path Ridgway leads you along is endlessly captivating. Each successive chapter manages to both add to the panoramic view of the detectives’ world and, at the same time, complicate the scene, creating a pleasantly claustrophobic sense of pervasive mystery. It is — in short — addictive reading. And we can’t wait to put copies in American readers’ hands.

Still not convinced? Killian Fox, writing for The Observer (of London) had this to say:

The real subject of the novel, perhaps, is how mysterious we are to one another and how lives are damaged, sometimes irreparably, by the gaps of comprehension. Ridgway, a Dublin author who lived in north London for more than a decade, writes these interlocking stories with the keen sense of place and lucid, pared-down prose of a good crime novel, which makes the more outlandish deviations from the genre even more arresting.

The most persistent mystery, in a book filled with unlikely tales, has to do with the reliability of the narrative itself. Is the novel a collective fantasy, a series of elaborate delusions? Is it all an extension of Hawthorn’s dream in the opening pages? No clear answers are forthcoming, but that doesn’t make the novel any less engaging.

So consider this an official announcement, and look for more news here as we approach the publication date in late September later this year.