Thursday, 4 September 2008
Borderlands Arrives in the US of A
Actually, the release date for the US edition of Brian McGilloway's Borderlands was the day before yesterday, September 2nd, but some of us (and by "some of us," I mean "me") are a little slow. But there it is, on the shelves of the Huntington Beach Barnes and Noble, sitting proudly in the New Mystery section. Somewhat surprisingly, St. Martin's Press (Thomas Dunne) decided to stick with the original cover, which shows an unusual attack of good sense and good taste; usually covers are changed just on the principle of the thing.
I have discovered that unless you are JK Rowling, John Grisham, or someone else who has a large audience quivering with anticipation at the imminent arrival of your new novel, "publication date" is a pretty elastic concept. The stores may get the books out on the shelves even before they are "published," or they may find their way out of the back room a few days later when the stock clerk stops using that particular box of books as a lunch table. So far, of the five Barnes and Noble superstores within 10 miles of my house, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, and Orange all have Borderlands on display; Costa Mesa and Irvine's copies are still apparently in use by the stockboy. Borderlands is also on display at Borders in its Long Beach, Brea, and Yorba Linda stores, and I suspect it will soon be cropping up at others. So, St. Martin's seems to be doing a good job of pushing the books out the door and onto the shelves, and I'm glad.
This is more than a selfless interest in seeing Brian's book reach a wider audience; this is also an historic, but little-noted occasion. This is the first time a Macmillan New Writing book has jumped the Atlantic and been printed in an American edition. Many--probably all--of us would like to see our books do the same, but I suspect those of us residing in the US harbor special hopes in this area. (Though something tells me if my book hasn't made the jump by now...)
Irrespective of my vested interest in seeing Brian's book do well, I'd urge American readers to toddle on down to their local bookstore (or, okay, go online if you must) and pick up a copy of Borderlands. McGilloway's prose is flawless, his characters pop off the page, the plot is engrossing, and the setting unique. The book received deservedly great reviews in Ireland and the UK, and sold enough copies to turn most writers Elphaba-colored with envy.
In case you didn't get the message, My Fellow Americans, I'm suggesting you buy it. (And congrats, Brian!)