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Beyond Normal: New Novel Brings Sally Rooney Madness to UK Bookstores | Sally rooney


When they were kids, they lined the streets in their witch hats and cloaks, eager to pick up the latest Harry Potter title as bookstores opened at midnight. Now that they’re a little older, the prospect of a scuffle with millennial emotions might see them lining up around the block again on September 7, as dozens of bookstores plan to open early for the day. ‘arrival of Sally Rooney’s latest novel, Beautiful people, where are you.

As part of a nationwide promotional campaign, prompted by signs of strong public demand, freshly printed copies of the Irish author’s third novel are to be served to patrons with special commemorative items while they enjoy coffee and pastry.

But when the crumbs are wiped off and the reading begins, some early reviews suggest they might be disappointed. The Atlantic, while praising Rooney as a “great talent”, describes the characters as “a bit static” and “abstractly designed”.

Weekly entertainment, meanwhile, said “the millennium of the book heart cry can also tip into navel-like indulgence, fraught with the undergraduate runaway of late-night dormitory debates and clove cigarette smoke ”.

Rooney editor Faber staged an advertising campaign unprecedented since the arrival of Wills, Margaret Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, two years ago. This has led to astronomical sales that have made the title the fifth-largest seller of fiction books since Nielsen BookScan’s consumer tracking records began. The Canadian author’s enormous commercial success was later crowned with a Booker Award, an honor she shared with Girl, Woman, Other the writer Bernadine Evaristo.

Excited shoppers after purchasing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child from JK Rowling shortly after midnight in Foyles, central London, in July 2016. Photograph: Rob Stothard / Getty Images

Faber is hoping her 30-year-old star writer can achieve similar popularity, satisfying both devoted fans and literary critics, which she certainly has done with her second novel, Normal people.

Across the country, 50 bookstores will open early, and at Waterstones’ large flagship store, Piccadilly in London, the party kicks off the day before. Rooney is set to read excerpts from the new book, which tells the semi-autobiographical story of a woman, Alice, who struggles to cope with the fame imposed on her by her early literary successes. After the rave reviews, ironically, come “some negative tracks”. Tickets for the exclusive book signing event are already sold out, but there is a “curated” reading list for the book that is likely to become widely available.

Charlie Crabb, owner of Hastings Bookshop, one of 20 independent bookstores participating in “Rooney day”, hopes the event will help increase sales for the remainder of the fall. “It’s great to highlight some of the highlights of September, which is always a big month. It elevates them from the rest of the titles, ”he said.

For Waterstones, the dominant British literary chain of stores, the value of capitalizing on Rooney’s reputation is clear. “The release of Sally Rooney’s third novel is the most exciting and anticipated moment on this year’s literary calendar,” said Bea Carvalho, fiction buyer at Waterstones. The bookstore.

Daisy Edgar-Jones, left, and Paul Mescal in the BBC's Normal People.
Daisy Edgar-Jones, left, and Paul Mescal in the BBC’s Normal People. Photograph: Enda Bowe / AP

All the noise, of course, follows the onslaught of Normal people, which also became a hit TV drama for the BBC last year. Rooney’s first novel, Conversations with friends, which had its own sizable and distinct fan base, is now suitable for the screen. The previous two novels are already credited with boosting international book sales on their own, together generating UK sales of £ 6.18million by last summer.

In Hastings, Crabb expects just as much from another upcoming publication: Evaristo’s new book, Manifesto to never give up, which comes out in October. He noticed that Evaristo’s strong online pre-sales for signed editions match those of Rooney.

Other books that make up the edition calendar

Harry potter
More than two decades after his first book on a wizard boy, JK Rowling’s publisher Bloomsbury still celebrates his game-changing children’s series every year on the first Thursday in February, with special kits created for schools, libraries and stores. Last year’s Book Night was themed around the Triwizard Tournament, and this year’s Book Night, which was postponed due to Covid, recreated the fictional Diagon Alley online and took place on June 24 instead.

The Handmaid’s Tale
When Margaret Atwood Wills released in 2019, the event was impossible to avoid. Hooded women took to the streets to mark the long-awaited sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale. As a result, publisher Vintage sold 103,177 hardback copies in the first week, more than double the number of any other title at that time of year.

Klara and the sun
Kazuo Ishiguro’s latest novel, Klara and the sun, came out in March and gave a boost to booksellers suffering from store closures during the pandemic. His first novel since receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017, it is told from the perspective of an AI “friend” waiting to be bought. Film rights were acquired prior to publication. The film, produced by Potter producer David Heyman and Rosie Alison, is supported by Sony Pictures in collaboration with publisher HarperCollins. Longlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize, it topped the field of competitors for one-mile country sales.

Manifesto not to give up
After sharing her Booker Award with Margaret Atwood in 2019 for Girl, Woman, Other, Bernardine Evaristo has become a leading literary figure. Her non-fiction account of how she got there, Manifesto on Not Giving Up, out October 7 and presales indicate great public interest. Publisher Hamish Hamilton marks the day with a series of events, including a personal appearance four days earlier at the Southbank Center where Evaristo will be interviewed by Afua Hirsch.

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