Will the Real Anonymous Please Stand Up?

As we pointed out on Monday, the Book Beast lists among their “most anticipated” books of 2011 one titled O: A Presidential Novel, to be published on Jan 25 by S&S. The “O,” of course, is President Obama, but the author is anonymous. Libraries we checked had not ordered it and information is sketchy from wholesaler and bookseller sites and non-existent on S&S’s site.

S&S has confirmed to EarlyWord that the book will be released on Jan. 25th. News outlets, beginning with Yahoo! News, have now picked up the story, comparing it to Primary Colors, also by “Anonymous,” about the Clinton administration, which was a best seller in 1996 and made into a movie. After weeks of speculation, it was revealed that “Anonymous” was actually Time magazine journalist Joe Klein.

When asked by Yahoo if he might be the new Anonymous, Klein vigorously denied the idea (Yahoo points out that Klein also initially denied the suggestion that he wrote Primary Colors). We’re inclined to believe Klein this time, however. If he were to do another  “Anonymous” book, we think he’d turn to one of the Random House divisions, which have been his publishers in the past.

In the UK, The Telegraph, covers the story, including a more extensive look at the impact of Primary Colors in its day and notes that there will also be a simultaneous audio version of O, read by Campbell Scott (who, like everyone else involved, declined to comment).

A curious side note, the description on some wholesaler databases seems to be about a quite different anonymous novel:

The author has decided to remain anonymous because this was the only way she felt completely free to explore a woman’s secret life. As she writes in the afterword to the novel, “That doesn’t mean this is a memoir; it’s many things to me, fiction and nonfiction, fantasy and fact, a quilt pieced together not just from my own stories but those of my friends.” She was also inspired to embrace anonymity by the book that inspired her own, an anonymous and very daring Elizabethan manuscript entitled A Woman’s Worth.

The initial print run is showing as 100,000 copies. No cover image is available yet.

O: A Presidential Novel
Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster – (2011-01-25)
ISBN / EAN: 1451625960 / 9781451625967

Audio: Simon & Schuster Audio (January 25, 2011);ISBN-13: 9781442341142

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