Agent Turns Down $1 Million Offer for First Novel

The literary world is buzzing today over Andrew Davidson's novel, The Gargoyle, which went out on submission to editors last week and is already attracting a great deal of attention. Reportedly the agent, Eric Simonoff of Janklow and Nesbit Associates, has already turned down a $1 million preemptive offer for the novel; though we don't know who made the offer, we've been told by publishing sources that the submission was huge, with multiple editors within publishing groups receiving it. (Cindy Spiegel of Spiegel & Grau, for example, was reportedly trying to sort out with colleague Gerry Howard of Doubleday which of them would be allowed to bid.)

So what's it about? It's a densely packed story about a car-accident victim in the burn ward befriended by a mysterious woman who claims to be a stone carver in a fifteenth-century German abbey. The narrative moves back and forth in time from the woman's tales to the present day and incorporates the story of the first German translation of Dante. We've been told it's an excellent page-turner, though one publishing insider said it felt overly calculated, "like someone sat down to write the bastard love child of The Birth of Venus and The English Patient."

What's next? An auction, most likely, possibly before the end of the week. Plus, a flurry of film activity; we hear prominent agent Howie Sanders of UTA just started sending it to producers.