Thursday, April 02, 2009

Overlook Publisher Peter Mayer Talks to GalleyCat

Peter Mayer spoke to Jason Boog of GalleyCat this week in Overlook's SoHo office. Here's the post: "GalleyCat caught up with Overlook Press founder Peter Mayer to study the fine art of literary obfuscation. This month, Overlook Press will publish The Stranger by Max Frei--a literary fantasy novel supposedly written by the novel's main character. In reality, The Stranger was written by a reclusive female artist and has sold millions of copies in Russia. After hearing Russian readers rave about the book, Mayer scooped up the eight-book series. "A great deal of Russian literature has been disguised," he explained. "Russia was an autocratic state with great curtailments on people's personal lives... [obfuscation] is a feature that kept a lot of writers out of jail for many years."
Mayer saw some recession-era parallels in the book: "Max arises from his despair in life and creates his own reality. People are looking for escapism during a recession... But the recession was the last thing I was thinking about when I bought it." Mayer said Overlook picked up fantasy books "by accident," but carved out a niche in the market. "There's a dumb world of fantasy and an intelligent world of fantasy. I'd like to think we inhabit the later."

The publisher also told readers to look out for A Quiet Belief In Angels, R.J. Ellory's thriller by set in Georgia, USA. Overlook will publish between 50,000 to 100,000 copies of the British thriller this fall. "This guy can really write. He wrote 22 novels before he published," Mayer said. "He said, 'Those books were my university. That's how I learned how to write.'"

1 comment:

Henry said...

Peter Mayer:

Please contact me in connection with a book I am now writing. I would appreciate some feed back on the years I covered the publishing beat for The New York Times. And please be merciless. The book is a memoir dealing mainly with our fleeing Germany to Argentina and my years with the United Press, a return to Europe and eventual emigration to the US. Much of the text though deals with music, my friendship with Isaac Stern, Serkin, Casals and the Marlboro crowd.
I can be reached hraymont@gmail.com
Best, henry raymont