Mucking Up Those Sandbox Sales

Anne Roiphe recalls how unhappy family members were with her 1970 novel Up the Sandbox!

BalladBlackBlueMind_CoverAt the age of 79, Anne Roiphe has just published her tenth novel, Ballad of the Black and Blue Mind. She’s got at least one more planned, and next winter, when daughter Katie’s novel The Violet Hour arrives, it will be dedicated to mom.

Looking back on six decades of journalism, literature and life in Publishers Weekly, Roiphe shares one blazing memory after another. Including this one about her celebrated 1970 sophomore effort Up the Sandbox!, made into a movie starring Barbra Streisand two years later:

I received a call from my editor. ‘Sales of your book are incredible in one bookstore on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The store can’t keep the book in stock because the demand is so high…’ My aunt who lived a block away from that bookstore was buying out the full supply again and again, not realizing the store would only re-order and re-order more. She was trying to keep her friends from reading it.

My next editor at Simon and Schuster was of the three-martini-lunch kind. He was fired finally for sleeping the afternoons away at his desk. And then I wrote books of all kinds. I had remarried a psychoanalyst. We had tuitions to pay. We had life to consider which is far more important than art, I quickly came to see.

Roiphe wrote Up the Sandbox after divorcing at age 27. By the time the book came out, two years later, her mother had passed away. But alongside the aforementioned aunt, other family members were “furious” about what she had shared in a thinly fictionalized form. Read the rest of Roiphe’s Publishers Weekly essay here.
[Jacket cover courtesy: Seven Stories Press]

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.