Viking won Safe guardYael van der Wouden’s “thrilling” debut novel, up for nine-way auction.
Isabel Wall, editorial director, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from CAA’s Caroline Sutton on behalf of Anna Stein, following a “hotly contested” nine-way auction. US rights sold to Lauren Wein at Avid Reader, 10-way auction.
Claire Nozieres translation rights have been sold in France, Germany, Italy, Israel, Romania, the Netherlands and Norway. Viking will announce Safe guard in hardcover, e-book and audio in the summer of 2024.
Safe guard the publisher describes it as “a story about twisted desire, histories and homes, and an unexpected form of revenge.”
Its synopsis reads: “The year is 1961 and the rural Dutch province of Overijssel is quiet. The bomb craters were filled, the buildings were reconstructed, and the war was very much over. Living alone in her late mother’s country home, Isabel’s life is as it should be: guided by routine and discipline. But it all comes undone when her brother Louis brings his rude new girlfriend, Eva, to Isabel’s doorstep—as a guest, there to stay for the entire season…
“Eva is Isabel’s antithesis: she sleeps long, wakes up late, walks loudly around the house and touches things she shouldn’t.” In response, Isabel develops a rage-fueled obsession, and when things start disappearing around the house – a spoon, a knife, a bowl – Isabel’s suspicions spiral out of control. At the sweltering height of summer, Isabel’s paranoia gives way to infatuation—leading to a discovery that unravels everything Isabel has ever known. The war may not be well and truly over after all, and neither Eva – nor the house they live in – are not what they seem.”
Wall said: “Safe guard is the most original and exciting novel I have read in a long time. I was impressed by Yael van der Wouden’s ability to combine a thrilling story of desire and obsession between two women with a powerful examination of the legacy of the Holocaust and the darker parts of our shared past. I can’t wait to share it with readers.”
Yael van der Wouden is a writer and teacher. Her essay on Dutch identity and Judaism, “On (Mis)Reading Anne Frank,” was prominently featured in The Best American Essays 2018. She is originally from Tel Aviv, although she currently lives in the Netherlands, where she teaches creative writing and comparative literature.
She said: “I am incredibly excited that this book has found a home with Isabel and the Vikings. An absolute dream come true.”