JEET’S FIRST NOVEL has just been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, believed by some authors to be the only book prize that really counts. What are the odds of that? A gazillion to one?
But before you gnash your teeth and call him lucky, know the real story: he worked really hard to write it, and then he worked really hard to sell it. In fact, “it was rejected by every major publisher in India,” he told me as we chatted at the Ibis hotel in Hong Kong last night.
But he persevered—and then it was accepted by UK’s Faber and Faber, one of the most respected (and pickiest) publishers in the world.
The Faber editor who picked it out of the slush pile was a person who feels he has to be grabbed by the first line of the book. “So what’s the first line,” I asked him. “Surely you must have memorized it?”
“No,” he replied. “The first line is six and half pages long.”
If there’s any justice, the publishers in India will sack their Professional Readers immediately.