The starting point for the proposed book of nonfiction was Mr. Yang’s much talked-about New York cover story, “Paper Tigers,” about Asian-American values and the American meritocracy.
“Wes’ original NY Mag piece is the kind of feature that makes book editors drool– so lively, so full of sparks and ideas, and so well-written it cries out to be turned into a book, however far from the original piece the book may range. ” editor Matt Weiland wrote to The Observer.
Five houses bid on the book during a three-day auction, according to Mr. Yang’s agent, Edward Orloff of McCormick & Williams.
Mr. Yang said the book will be more than an expansion of the article.
“I think of it as a book that will be only incidentally about Asians, using a very specific experience as a lens to explore universal truths about the American character — about the nature of success and failure, about schooling and meritocracy, and about how people invent new identities for themselves in the face of the constraining narratives imposed on them from without and within,” he wrote in an e-mail.
Mr. Yang’s is the third writer affiliated with n+1 to be scooped up by Mr. Weiland. Ecco will publish Philip Connors’s memoir (tentatively titled Nothing Personal and based on a piece in the literary magazine) and Mr. Weiland acquired Blood Matters by Masha Gessen, sister of founding editor Keith Gessen, for Granta Books.
Is n+1 his talent pool?
“I’ve spent a lot of time working on magazines over the years — The Baffler, Granta, the Paris Review — and have always felt the most important role of such mags, besides simply identifying talent and throwing good parties, is letting writers do their thing; giving them the space and time to engage with the world (on paper at least) in their own way,” Mr. Weiland wrote.
“To their great credit, n+1 is doing exactly that.”