Lit Agent’s Tome-Heavy Home Sells At Sutton Place

owen laster Lit Agents Tome Heavy Home Sells At Sutton Place

Owen Laster

Named by The New York Times as “one of the most powerful literary agents of his generation,” Owen Laster was an old-guard bookworm who spent his entire career at William Morris. Having worked with such literary luminaries as James A. Michener and Gore Vidal, Laster was a fixture in the book world for decades until he retired in 2006. Not surprisingly, the New Jersey native lived in a book-crammed co-op on Sutton Place, which his estate just sold.

The tome-heavy home at 425 East 58th Street spans 1,800 square feet and was recently renovated, according to a listing from Corcoran agent Rose Marie Laster (no apparent relation). Ms. Laster gushes about the two-bedroom space in the listing, which offers “stunning south vistas of the East River and the panoply of New York skyscrapers.”

As the head of William Morris’ global literary division, Laster was doubtless flooded with galleys and advance copies of books from aspiring best-sellers. To accommodate, he had bookshelves installed along the walls of the living room and the master bedroom. As the agent responsible for Margaret Mitchell’s estate, we wouldn’t be surprised if an early edition of Gone With The Wind was hidden among the myriad titles. He also represented Judy Bloom, so perhaps a copy of Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret graces the shelve as well.

The home was originally put on the market last May with an asking price of $2.875 million. The buyers, Jay Finkel and David Panicek (both doctors) ultimately paid just $1.8 million for the two-bedroom, 2.5-bath pad. It looks like the late literary agent’s real estate agent was not quite as good at selling homes as he was books.

eknutsen@observer.com