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Polygon Acquires Hideous by Abigail Abbas

  09 May '24   |  Posted by: Birlinn

Polygon has acquired World English Language rights, including audio, for debut author Abigail Abbas’s darkly comic first novel, Hideous. The deal was brokered by Olivia Davies of United Agents. Hideous will be published in the spring of 2026.

‘This is the funniest, the wildest, most life-affirming submission I’ve read in a long, long time. It’s bursting with energy and humour and intriguing characters, a bit like a mashup of a Coen Brothers movie, Ali Smith and Nicola Barker. Very filmic, very compassionate and with pitch-perfect comic timing and emotional intelligence.’

Polygon’s senior editor, Alison Rae

Abigail said: ‘I was blown away by Alison’s fantastic response to Hideous and how she had connected with the world of the book. Polygon is the perfect home to bring it to life, and I’m thrilled to be working with them on this story about the unimaginable and often underestimated rewards of running away.’

Set in London and the Scottish Highlands, Hideous is a literary domestic thriller, full of blistering black humour, compulsive plotting and an electrifying final showdown.

Emma Propeller knows, in her gut, that her narcissistic husband, James, has completely abandoned her in their marriage. But, caught in the fog of early motherhood, all she can do is focus on keeping their baby safe and well. Then James goes missing. It transpires that, after being fired from his job, a drug-fuelled binge has led to James’s arrest. With gritted teeth Emma soldiers on, only for James to return from a stint in rehab with a new lover. Emma seizes the opportunity to escape.

Changing identity to avoid detection, Emma secures a job as a chauffeur to a mysterious marchioness in the Scottish Highlands, as far away from James as possible. At first, Emma celebrates her newfound independence; she’s landed herself a cosy cottage, cash-in-hand work and proximity to a glamorous employer. She and her daughter will be fine . . .

However, working for the marchioness quickly becomes even more chaotic than the life she has just fled. A threatening note; a suspicious fire; word that James has hired a private detective to track her down; her employer becoming increasingly unstable – all these events add to Emma’s growing sense of paranoia. She has secured her freedom but at what cost?

After graduating with a first in English, Abigail Abbas began her career in financial PR. She left the City to raise her children and worked as an illustrator, later embarking on an MA in Illustration at Camberwell College of Art.

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