Orion imprint White Rabbit has acquired David Keenan’s fifth novel, Monument Maker. The imprint published Keenan’s Xstabeth in 2020. 

Lee Brackstone, publisher, acquired world rights from Imogen Pelham at Marjacq Scripts. It will be published in hardback on 10th June 2021. 

Written over the course of 10 years, Monument Maker is billed as an “epic romance of eternal summer and a descent, into history, into the horrors of the past.” The novel will move from the siege of Khartoum and the conquest of Africa in the 19th century through the Second World War and up to the present day, where the memory of a single summer, and a love affair that took place across the cathedrals of Ile de France, unravels, as a secret initiatory cult is uncovered that has its roots in macabre experiments in cryptozoology in pre-war Europe.

Brackstone said: “As a young editor, I was always counselled against making grand claims for books, especially when it comes to literary fiction. Monument Maker is many books in a single book, and a book unlike any other I have read or published. It is so deep and psychedelic as to be positively subterranean. It is a book that readers will return to again and again, and each time, it will reveal more of itself. It is a colossal, enlightening, bewildering, literary masterpiece. It reminded me of Malcolm Lowry, of Clarice Lispector; and more recently David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas and Roberto Bolano’s 2666. But it is David Keenan who must take credit for this singular achievement, not the ghosts of great writers past; and he has written a book – itself containing many books – for the ages, that will come to be seen as a monument in early 21st century letters.”

Keenan said: “I now realise what I have attempted to do with Monument Maker. I have crossed Europe in the footsteps of the men of my family during the Second World War, travelling from Calderbank, in Scotland, through France and Germany and on, to Crete and finally to Athens, where I have come to rescue all of the disappeared. I think of Frater Jim, one of the main characters in the book, who returns to Calderbank, and to his wife, in secret, for he has been gifted a new face, and he marries her all over again, without ever letting her know that her own true love has returned, and is once more in her arms. I have come to build a monument to all of the sweethearts separated in time, and to the cruelties that tore them apart, and to the summers they once loved in.”

Keenan is also the author of The Towers the Fields the Transmitters (Hachette, 2020), For the Good Times (Faber & Faber, 2019) and This is Memorial Device (Faber & Faber, 2017). 

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