Gollancz Acquires The Death House

A heart-breaking tale of life, love and death – and how we come to terms with all three – will be brought to you by Gollancz in 2014.

The Death House stands alone in the isolation of the moors. From the outside looking in, it gives the impression of a 1940s no-nonsense boarding school and, just like a school, a group of young people live there, muddled together in battered old dormitories.

But this isn’t a school. A school prepares children for life. Instead of teachers these young people are supervised by a sterile team of nurses. Their days have no purpose, because neither do their futures.

All of the children and teenagers here are dying. Sooner rather than later; and all they and the nurses can do is wait.

When the first of Joe’s friends falls sick and is wheeled up to the Sanitarium, it comes home to their dormitory of six: death is not hypothetical, this is for real.

This is their story: and it’s about the rite of passage that is first coming to terms with death, and then finding a way to live with it.

There are strong friendships here, there’s a love story, there’s a hint that some of them may be helped to their graves rather than allowing nature to take its course . . . and each of these strands serve to bind this beautiful, spell-binding and heart-breaking story together.

Written by Sarah Pinborough, The Death House is the first of two novels acquired by Gillian Redfearn, Editorial Director of Gollancz, in a world rights deal with Veronique Baxter of David Higham Associates. Speaking about the novel, Gillian said ‘Sarah Pinborough’s novels – and especially her novella The Language of Dying, have always shown a lightness of touch, and combination of a sensitivity to and unflinchingness about difficult topics. I think The Death House is going to speak to a lot of readers, and break all of our hearts. We are very proud to have this novel join the Gollancz list.’

Talking about this novel, and the future, Sarah Pinborough said: ‘After the experience of writing The Language of Dying I wanted to write something with that level of emotional power that could touch both teenagers, who are just coming to realise their own mortality; and adults, who spend all their time trying to forget it, and remind us all that life is only in the here and now. I’m hoping that this novel will take my writing to a different level in style and story and I’m very much looking forward to working with Gollancz on it.’

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