One of the best reading surprises of the year for me was Alison McGhee‘s new novel FALLING BOY, a slim tale of a paraplegic teen’s move to a new city where he meets a little girl who fervently, absolutely believes he is a superhero. McGhee’s in New York tonight for a reading at the B&N in Chelsea, and no doubt she’ll discuss the superhero aspects of the book in greater detail at that time, but the publishing history of McGhee’s career and FALLING BOY are particularly fascinating.

Just start with the book itself, which Picador issued as a trade paperback original with french flaps. “They put the decision to me,” McGhee explained in a recent telephone interview in advance of the signing. “I love trade paperbacks – I tend to buy them myself because hardcovers can be so freaking expensive! So once I thought it over I was all for publishing in trade paperback. Picador did a fantastic job with the look and especially the cover. Now it’s one of my favorites.”

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