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Beyond the normal: new novel brings Sally Rooney mania to UK bookstores | Sally rooney

As children, they lined the streets in their witch hats and capes, eager to acquire the latest Harry Potter title when bookstores opened their doors at midnight. Now that they’re a bit older, the prospect of a fight with some millennial thrills could have them lining up around the block again on September 7, as dozens of bookstores plan to open early for the arrival of Sally Rooney’s latest novel. . Beautiful world, where are you?.

In a national promotional push, fueled by signals of high public demand, freshly printed copies of the Irish author’s third novel will be served to customers with special commemorative merchandise while enjoying coffee and pastries.

But when the crumbs are erased and the reading begins, some initial reviews suggest they may be disappointed. the Atlantic, while praising Rooney as a “great talent”, he describes the characters as “a bit static” and “abstractly conceived”.

Weekly entertainmentMeanwhile, he claimed that “the millennial book cry of the heart it can also lean toward the indulgence of gazing at the navel, heavy with college fugue from late-night dorms and clove cigarette smoke. “

Rooney’s publisher, Faber, has organized an ad campaign not seen since the arrival of Wills, Margaret Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, two years ago. This led to astronomical sales that placed the title as the fifth largest seller of hardcover fiction since Nielsen BookScan’s consumer tracking records began. The Canadian author’s huge commercial success was later capped off with a Booker Prize win, an honor she shared with Girl, Woman, Other the writer Bernadine Evaristo.

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Young women excited after purchasing their copies of JK Rowling's Harry Potter and The Cursed Child in July 2016
Excited shoppers after purchasing JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and The Cursed Child shortly after midnight at Foyles in central London in July 2016. Photograph: Rob Stothard / Getty Images

Faber hopes her 30-year-old star writer can achieve similar popularity, pleasing both devoted fans and literary critics, something she certainly did with her second novel. Normal people.

Across the country, 50 bookstores will open early, and at the large Waterstones Piccadilly flagship store in London, the party will kick off the night before. Rooney will read excerpts from the new book, which tells the semi-autobiographical story of a woman, Alice, who is struggling to cope with the fame that early literary success has brought her. After the rave reviews, ironically, come “some negative pieces.” Tickets for the exclusive book signing event have already sold out, but there is a “selected” playlist for the book that will likely be widely available.

Charlie Crabb, owner of Hastings Bookshop, one of 20 independent bookstores participating in “Rooney Day,” hopes the event will help boost sales for the rest of the fall. “It’s great to point out some of the highlights of September, which is always a great month. It raises 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 for Waterstones. The bookseller.

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

All the ruckus, of course, follows the assault on Normal people, which also became a hit television drama for the BBC last year. Rooney’s first novel, Conversations with friends, which had its own large and distinct fanbase, is now adapting for the screen. Both of the above novels already have the merit of boosting international book sales alone, generating sales of 6.18 million pounds in Britain for the summer of last year.

At Hastings, Crabb has such high expectations for another forthcoming publication: Evaristo’s new book, Manifesto on never giving up, due out in October. You have noticed that Evaristo’s strong online presales for signed editions match Rooney’s.

Other books that are part of the editorial calendar

Harry Potter
More than two decades after its first book on a child wizard, JK Rowling’s publisher, Bloomsbury, continues to celebrate its groundbreaking children’s series annually on the first Thursday in February, with special kits created for schools, libraries and stores. Last year’s book night had the theme of the Triwizard Tournament, and this year’s book night, which was postponed as a result of Covid, recreated the fictional Diagon Alley online and took place on June 24.

The Handmaid’s Tale
When Margaret Atwood’s Wills came out in 2019, the event was impossible to avoid. Hooded women stalked the streets to mark the long-awaited sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale. As a result, Vintage publisher sold 103,177 hardcover copies in the first week, more than double that 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 shot booksellers who suffered from store closures during the pandemic in the arm. His first novel since he received the Nobel Prize for literature in 2017, is told from the perspective of an AI “friend” waiting to be bought. Film rights were acquired prior to publication. Produced by Potter producer David Heyman and Rosie Alison, the film is supported by Sony Pictures in collaboration with publisher HarperCollins. Included in the long list for the 2021 Booker award, he led the competition group in sales by one mile in the country.

Manifesto on not giving up
After sharing her Booker Award with Margaret Atwood in 2019 for Girl, Woman, OtherBernardine Evaristo has become a prominent literary figure. His non-fiction account of how he got there, Manifest on Not Giving Up, out October 7 and presales indicate great public interest. Editor Hamish Hamilton is marking 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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