The title of this post was probably the refrain of many an author in 2006, when they found themselves overshadowed by a certain 27-year-old female debut novelist. In 2005, six-figure deals for first novels were more common than they are these days, but the $500K+ sale of Special Topics in Calamity Physics still made headlines—and combined with Pessl’s fetching author photo and undeniable writing chops to create a perfect storm of publicity around the book’s August release.
Reviews of the novel were mixed, but this line from the BookPage review echoes a sentiment that all readers agreed on: “There can be little doubt of Pessl’s talent, and her very clever debut undoubtedly marks the beginning of what is sure to be a long and successful career.” The novel was named one of the New York Times‘ 10 best books of the year and won the John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize.
But over the past 7 years, little has been revealed about Pessl’s work-in-progress, which has been postponed more than once. Recently, however, it has been confirmed as a fall 2013 release from Random House—August 20, 2013, to be exact. Night Film was summarized when the deal was announced as a ”psychological thriller about obsession, family loyalty and ambition set in raw contemporary Manhattan.” Pessl recently described it on Twitter as “both different and the same [as Special Topics]. Or something like that.” Whatever it is, we can’t wait to dig in. How about you?