The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C Morais

Pity the poor publisher. How many books brought to the market actually make it and continue on to have long shelf lives? Maybe 20 per cent? Probably less. That means a lot of books are one-hit wonders, while others sink like a stone. Of course, others are so damn good that you know from the minute you read them that they are going to create a sensation.

I was lucky enough to get proof copies of Room, The Long Song, Trespass, The Slap, Parrot and Olivier in America and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet before publication (having been earmarked by their publishers as worthy of pushing). They were all exceptional in their ways, and they have all ended up on this year’s Man Booker long list. Then there are others that are just going to capture the public’s imagination. They may not get nominations for the big prizes but they are compelling enough to be supported by a marketing campaign. And others are going to be slow burners – hand-sells that get passed from reader to reader with personal recommendations before reaching critical mass and morphing into the big league. Think Steig Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy. That seems to just keep getting bigger. What started out as a niche crime novel (cold climate crime) is now a phenomenon. On a smaller scale, there is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a feel-good quirky wartime novel that snuck onto the lists in January 2008 (near buried under the annual deluge of diet books) and hasn’t gone away since. In fact, come November, we will have the gift edition, complete with Continue reading


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