I’ll never forget the evening before publication of Just In Case, when the lovely Tracy Chevalier (Girl With A Pearl Earring) told me that every book I wrote after The Big Book would sell at least 15% less than the previous one.

I was horrified and appalled.

How little I knew. Nowadays, the thought of selling just 15% less than How I Live Now would be cause for celebration.

The thing about The Big Book is that it tends to overshadow everything else you do. Even if the books you write after are far more interesting, subtle, complex, moving, intellectually satisfying (oh, and they are, they are) — they’re not The Big Book, and The Big Book just had Something. Some incredibly fortuitous combination of being the right book at the right time with the right characters and the right arc and all the planets just…lining….up….right.

It’s a bit like having one beautiful sociable even-tempered child who gets perfect grades in school and is invited to every party. Do you lie awake nights worrying about that one?

Of course you don’t. You lie awake worrying that no one will appreciate the one with sticky-out ears and the world’s kindest heart. Or the one who memorises faraway galaxies instead of Spanish verbs.

I heard last week that 20,000 copies of How I Live Now will be given away free on World Book Night — along with other glamorpuss friends like Remains of the Day, Pride and Prejudice, Notes From a Small Island, A Tale of Two Cities and The Book Thief.

WOW!  YAY!  How thrilling! How amazing!!!!

The other kids and I will stay home that night and watch our superstar on the red carpet. And boy will we be proud.


11 thoughts on “The thing about The Big Book.

    1. Meg Rosoff 7 years ago

      Fantastic, thanks Caroline. I wouldn’t have guessed she’d be such a good and interesting speaker.

  1. raych 7 years ago

    I KNOW! I know. But I love How I Live Now so much. It reads like you wrote it from inside my brain.

  2. Emily 7 years ago

    i have 2 Big Books when I think of you, Meg – HILN and ‘What I Was’. I read them both at least once a year. I love them.

  3. Emily Anne 7 years ago

    I read have read all your books and i think they are all AMAZING! My favourite is defiantly your new book ‘there is no dog’. And i was wondering why you won’t/can’t ship the eck and signed book to Australia?

  4. Kirsten Baron 7 years ago

    Meg, perhaps you should assume that everyone is wrong. ‘How I Live Now’ is wonderful, huge, satisfying, beautifully written, damn near perfect in every way (although not QUITE as brilliant as ‘Just In Case’). But it is only a practice piece for your real mag.op…
    Just a suggestion.

  5. Mieke Zamora-Mackay 7 years ago

    Wonderful news. How I Live Now deserves its spot on the red carpet, just as all the rest of your work does.

  6. Candy Gourlay 7 years ago

    hurray indeed! but i’m quite partial to the ones at home too! congrats – the world will be all the better for it.

  7. Juliet 7 years ago

    Ooh, but in an emergency, I’d save “A Bride’s Farewell” first!

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