Jonathan Oliver, commissioning editor of Solaris Books, has commissioned THE WOLF IN THE ATTIC, a new fantasy novel by Paul Kearney. The novel will be delivered in January 2015, for an autumn publication. The agent was John Jarrold, and the deal was for UK/US rights.
The novel is set in very early 1930′s Oxford, features Tolkien and Lewis as characters, and is told from the point of view of a lonely 11 year old girl. She’s Greek, a refugee from the sack of Smyrna, and one day discovers a Romany boy in her attic. The boy is a shape-shifter, and becomes her friend. The two begin to explore the world around Oxford, discovering things they never imagined existed. The girl, Anna, is obsessed by the Odyssey, and likens the Romany boy, Luca, to Odysseus. Here are the author’s thoughts:
“This story has been rattling around in my head for a long time. The genesis of it was a visit to Turkey some years ago, when I saw the magnificent ruins at Ephesus. I knew the ancient history of Asia Minor quite well, but its more recent reincarnation as Turkey was pretty much a mystery to me, so I started reading into it. The one event that really stuck in my mind during my research was the sack of Smyrna in 1922, a ghastly, shameful catastrophe that the world has completely forgotten about. The more I read about the forced exodus of the Ionian Greeks, the more I felt I wanted to say something about them. But how? I put the idea to one side.
“Then, several years later I went back to Oxford for the first time in almost two decades. The place I had known as a teenager was both similar and jarringly different to the memories I had been holding on to, and I had the oddest sense of being dislocated, ghost-like, remembering places and things that no longer existed. That powerful, stubborn mental grasp of a place that was no longer there in some respects made me think about the tenacity of memory, and the way it can mislead and deceive.
“Finally, back at home, I was simply walking the dogs along the beach, and the character of Anna came to me in a rush. All those dislocated and disparate factors seemed suddenly to mesh, and I had the heart of a story unlike any other I’ve ever tried to tell.”