Chad Harbach is an unemployed copy editor with an unpaid position at the literary journal n+1.
Having been writing for nine years, Harbach’s novel titled “The Art of Fielding” was sold after a two-day telephone auction of eight publishers a few weeks ago, Bloomberg.com reported.
Hachette Book Group’s Little, Brown offered to pay about $650,000 for it, being one of the highest prices for a man’s first novel on a topic appealing to a male audience, according to book scout Jon Baker.
Baker called Harbach a “fantastic writer,” based on the manuscript. “He certainly took his time and made it perfect,” Baker said. “And I hate baseball.”
Michael Pietsch, the publisher of Little, Brown, described reading “The Art of Fielding” a “deeply emotional experience.”
“The writing seems effortless but makes you care desperately about its characters,” Pietsch said. The novel appealed to women in his office as well as men, he added.
Little, Brown didn’t have the high bid, Harbach's literary agent Chris Parris-Lamb said. He said the author wanted to work with Pietsch, the editor of “Infinite Jest.”
Rights for “The Art of Fielding” have recently sold in Japan and throughout Europe. The novel is expected to be on shelves in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2011.
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