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Atlantic buys Mouth to Mouth by Antoine Wilson at auction

11th May 2021

James Roxburgh, Publishing Director for Atlantic Fiction, has acquired UK Comm (ex. Canada) for Mouth to Mouth, the new novel by Antoine Wilson in a competitive auction. The rights were sold by Sophie Lambert, C & W, on behalf of Anna Stein, ICM. It will be a lead title for Atlantic, publishing in hardback and eBook in Spring 2022. A paperback will follow in Spring 2023.

Mouth to Mouth is a smart and deliciously engrossing story of confession and moral compromise. Two former classmates – a wealthy art dealer and a struggling writer – bump into one another in an airport lounge and, over delayed flights and a free bar, one of them begins to recount his life story to the other, about how, many years ago, he pulled a dying stranger from the sea and resuscitated him on the sand – and how, as the stranger slowly became an intimate and as rescue turned into something closer to entrapment, he started to wonder whether he should have just let the man drown…

Early praise for the book has come from Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Less, who said, ‘The best book I’ve read in ages… I see you now, dear Reader, with this novel in your hand and already losing track of time’. Lauren Groff, National Book Award winning author of Florida, said it was ‘Swift, and graceful, an agile novel of ideas with unexpectedly sharp teeth’. Sarah Manguso, author of 300 Arguments, said ‘I read this book in one rapturous sitting, jotting down line after line, riveted until the final shocking, clarifying sentence’.

Antoine Wilson is the author of the novels Panorama City and The Interloper. His work has appeared in The Paris ReviewStory Quarterly, and Best New American Voices, among other publications, and he is a contributing editor of the literary magazine A Public Space as well as the Los Angeles Review of Books. He lives in Los Angeles.

James Roxburgh, editor, says:

Mouth to Mouth reads with the intellectual clarity of Don DeLillo and the dark compelling energy of Girl on the Train. It’s brilliant on a kind of basic moral determinism, the inevitability and irresistibility of money and power, and in its portrayal of Francis – a famous asshole art dealer – it shows how the behaviour of men like Weinstein or Cuomo is systematically excused and forgiven, bullying repackaged as passion, sexual intimidation as charisma. I think Antoine Wilson has written one of the smartest, most addictive novels of the year.’

Sophie Lambert, agent, says:

‘I first read this in one greedy gulp and was immediately compelled to press it into as many hands as possible, which is exactly what I know James and Atlantic Books will do. Mouth to Mouth is sharp, provocative and unputdownable.’