Little, Brown was not the highest bidder for the book, but Harbach went with it because he wanted to work with Michael Pietsch, who edited David Foster Wallace‘s Infinite Jest. Harbach, a Harvard grad with an MFA from the University of Virginia, doesn’t get paid to be executive editor of the Brooklyn-based literary magazine, so he lives in a three-bedroom in Brooklyn and scrapes together rent with part-time copy-editing jobs.
This paragraph is fun: “Of the five n+1 founders, Harbach is the third to publish a novel. Benjamin Kunkel‘s Indecision, sold 48,000 copies, according to Nielsen BookScan, which covers about 75 percent of U.S. retail sales. All the Sad Young Literary Men, by Keith Gessen, sold 7,000 copies.”
Harbach’s novel, tentatively titled The Art of Fielding, is nearly 500 pages and focuses on a baseball team at a fictional college in Wisconsin. It’s expected out in late 2011.