Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Night Bookmobile Bookplate Edition – Exclusive to Gosh!

Audrey Niffenegger made headlines a couple of years back when the follow-up manuscript to her first incredible novel The Time Traveller’s Wife wound up in an unlikely and fierce bidding war at a time when publishers, like the rest of us, weren’t really buying anything. She’s not only an amazingly successful novelist but a talented artist to boot: The Three Incestuous Sisters, her first published “novel in pictures,” is a strange and macabre Gorey-esque story about three sisters who live in a lonely house by the sea. You’ll no doubt have seen it on the Gosh! shelves alongside The Adventuress, a gothic, dreamlike romance about an alchemist’s daughter who escapes a kidnapping by turning into a moth.

Her third graphic novel The Night Bookmobile was syndicated in the Guardian, occupying the space usually reserved for the very excellent Posy Simmonds (Gemma Bovery, Tamara Drewe) and her satirical takes on literary masterpieces. It’s a shadowy, nocturnal story about a woman who periodically encounters a bookmobile on a quiet Chicago street very late at night. In it she finds every single thing she’s ever read – every book, every instruction manual, classified ad and cereal box.

"From Jane Austen to Paul Auster, from Betty Crocker's Cookbook to The Raw and the Cooked to my college biology textbook, every book on the shelves was familiar… And then I saw my diary.”

It’s a strange premise but I like the idea that somewhere some quiet, balding librarian is keeping track of everything for us. It’s a book about the perils of reading too much; a book about books, about obsession, and about our innate desire to recapture what is lost. Niffenegger says the idea originally sprung from the classic H.G. Wells short story The Door in the Wall (online here), a tale of a man obsessed by an enchanted garden he had glimpsed as a child.

If you read the Wells story, you'll see that it is about longing, and I wanted to carry that over into my story. Longing prevents us from being entirely in the present and often leads us to make bad decisions. It's a great theme of literature, especially in the 19th century (see: Henry James, Edith Wharton, Proust, etc.) and seems relevant to a 21st-century America that's getting wistful for its past glories.

“At heart this romantic, melancholy tale is a paean to reading and to the life one person lives through books.”
-- Publishers Weekly

"The Night Bookmobile is a love letter, both elegiac and heartbreaking, to the things we have read, and to the readers that we are. It says that what we read makes us who we are. It's a graphic short story, beautifully drawn and perfectly told, a cautionary fantasia for anyone who has ever loved books, and I hope the story of the library, of Alexandra, finds its place on the shelves of the night bookmobiles of all of us who'd care. It's a treasure."
Neil Gaiman

The exclusive Night Bookmobile Gosh! Bookplate Edition features all new art created just for us, signed by Audrey Niffenegger herself and is limited to just 200 copies -- all for the cover price of £16.99. If you'd like to reserve one or arrange a mail order, drop us a line at info@goshlondon.com.