William Boggess started his career at Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill before joining Barer Literary, where he worked on bestselling titles such as Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife, Helen Simonson’s Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Joshua Ferris’ The Unnamed, Kevin Wilson’s The Family Fang, and Madeline Miller’s Orange Prize-winning The Song of Achilles.
After a few years, he moved to the editorial department at Little, Brown and Company, where he worked on a broad range of fiction and nonfiction, including Annie Jacobsen’s Area 51, Sam Kean’s The Violinist’s Thumb, and fiction from legendary authors such as Tom Wolfe, Daniel Woodrell, and Edna O’Brien.
He returned to Barer Literary as an agent, representing literary fiction and narrative nonfiction, and worked editorially on some of the most acclaimed books of 2014, including Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You, Joshua Ferris’s Booker-shortlisted To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, and Lily King’s Kirkus Prize-winning Euphoria.
William's select booklist can be found below.
“A beautiful portrait of being in Paris in the glittering 1920s..." - Entertainment weekly
Though deeply in love, the Hemingways are ill-prepared for the hard-drinking, fast-living, and free-loving life of Jazz Age Paris. As Ernest struggles to find the voice that will earn him a place in history and pours himself into the novel that will become The Sun Also Rises, Hadley strives to hold on to her sense of self as her roles as wife, friend, and muse become more challenging. Eventually, they find themselves facing the ultimate crisis of their marriage—a deception that will lead to the unraveling of everything they’ve fought so hard for.
Paul O'Rourke is a man made of contradictions: he loves the world, but doesn't know how to live in it. He's a Luddite addicted to his iPhone, a dentist with a nicotine habit, a rabid Red Sox fan devastated by their victories, and an atheist not quite willing to let go of God.
Then someone begins to impersonate Paul online, and he watches in horror as a website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account are created in his name. What begins as an outrageous violation of his privacy soon becomes something more soul-frightening: the possibility that the online "Paul" might be a better version of the real thing. As Paul's quest to learn why his identity has been stolen deepens, he is forced to confront his troubled past and his uncertain future in a life disturbingly split between the real and the virtual.
A big, panoramic story of the new America, as told by our master chronicler of the way we live now. As a police launch speeds across Miami's Biscayne Bay-with our hero, officer Nestor Camacho, on board-Tom Wolfe is off and running headlong into the only city in the world where people from a different country with a different language and a different culture have taken over at the ballot box.
This melting pot is full of hard cases who just won't melt, damn it: a Cuban mayor; a black police chief; a hot young reporter and a timid editor of the Miami Herald, both WASPs who went to Yale; an Anglo sex-addiction psychiatrist who keeps his lovely Latina nurse, Magdalena, in his bed, and his star patient, a porn-addicted billionaire, on a string; a status-addled Haitian professor who thinks he's really French and wants his pale-skinned daughter to "pass" and his Creole-spouting son to be quiet. Then there are the clueless collectors who "See it! Like it! Buy it!," spending tens of millions per minute on de-skilled art at Miami Art Basel; black drug dealers colliding with the Cuban cops; Columbus Day Regatta "spectators" who only have eyes for the annual après-race orgy; and "Active Adult" condos full of yenta-heavy ex-New Yorkers, not to mention a nest of shady Russians.
A Best Book of 2013 by Slate
A Best Book of 2013 by Washington Post
Winner of the 2014 Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Fiction
A Best Book of 2013 by St. Louis Post Dispatch
Kirkus Reviews selection for the Best Books of 2013
An Irish Times Book of the Year
A Favorite Book of 2013 by National Post (Canada)
An Amazon Best Book of the Year by Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal
"The Maid's Version is stunning. Daniel Woodrell writes flowing, cataclysmic prose with the irresistible aura of fate about it." - Sam Shepard
Alma DeGeer Dunahew, the mother of three young boys, works as the maid for a prominent citizen and his family in West Table, Missouri. Her husband is mostly absent, and, in 1929, her scandalous, beloved younger sister is one of the 42 killed in an explosion at the local dance hall. Who is to blame? Mobsters from St. Louis? The embittered local gypsies? The preacher who railed against the loose morals of the waltzing couples? Or could it have been a colossal accident?
Alma thinks she knows the answer-and that its roots lie in a dangerous love affair. Her dogged pursuit of justice makes her an outcast and causes a long-standing rift with her own son. By telling her story to her grandson, she finally gains some solace-and peace for her sister. He is advised to "Tell it. Go on and tell it"-tell the story of his family's struggles, suspicions, secrets, and triumphs.
“Edna O'Brien writes the most beautiful, aching stories of any writer, anywhere.” - Alice Munro, Winner of Nobel Prize in Literature
With her inimitable gift for describing the workings of the heart and mind, Edna O'Brien introduces us to a vivid new cast of restless, searching people who-whether in the Irish countryside or London or New York-remind us of our own humanity.
In "Send My Roots Rain," Miss Gilhooley, a librarian, waits in the lobby of a posh Dublin hotel-expecting to meet a celebrated poet while reflecting on the great love who disappointed her. The Irish workers of "The Shovel Kings" have pipe dreams of becoming millionaires in London, but long for their quickly changing homeland - exiles in both places. "Green Georgette" is a searing anatomy of class, through the eyes of a little girl; "Old Wounds" illuminates the importance of family and memory in old age. In language that is always bold and vital, Edna O'Brien pays tribute to the universal forces that rule our lives.
"In the noisy world of today it is a delight to find a novel that dares to assert itself quietly with the lovely rhythm of Helen Simonson's funny, comforting, and intelligent first novel - a modern day story of love which takes everyone, grown children, villagers, and the main participants, by surprise - as real love stories tend to do." - Elizabeth Strout
You are about to travel to Edgecombe St. Mary, a small village in the English countryside filled with rolling hills, thatched cottages, and a cast of characters both hilariously original and as familiar as the members of your own family. Among them is Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), the unlikely hero of Helen Simonson's wondrous debut. Wry, courtly, opinionated, and completely endearing, Major Pettigrew is one of the most indelible characters in contemporary fiction, and from the very first page of this remarkable novel he will steal your heart.
The Major leads a quiet life valuing the proper things that Englishmen have lived by for generations: honor, duty, decorum, and a properly brewed cup of tea. But then his brother's death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village. Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the loss of their respective spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more.
Now a major motion picture starring Nicole Kidman, Jason Bateman, and Christopher Walken
A funny, poignant, laugh-and-cry-out-loud (sometimes at the same time) novel about the art of surviving a masterpiece of dysfunction. Meet The Family Fang, an unforgettable collection of demanding, brilliant, and absolutely endearing oddballs whose lives are risky and mischievous performance art.
Annie and Buster Fang have spent most of their adult lives trying to distance themselves from their famous artist parents, Caleb and Camille. But when a bad economy and a few bad personal decisions converge, the two siblings have nowhere to turn but their family home. Reunited under one roof for the first time in more than a decade and surrounded by the souvenirs of their unusual upbringing, Buster and Annie are forced to confront not only their creatively ambitious parents, but the chaos and confusion of their childhood.
"Strange and beguiling...With this brave and masterful novel, Ferris has proven himself a writer of the first order. The Unnamed poses a question that could not be more relevant to the America of 2010: Will the compulsions of our bodies defeat the contents of our souls?" - The Boston Globe
Tim Farnsworth is a handsome, healthy man, aging with the grace of a matinee idol. His wife Jane still loves him, and for all its quiet trials, their marriage is still stronger than most. Despite long hours at the office, he remains passionate about his work, and his partnership at a prestigious Manhattan law firm means that the work he does is important. And, even as his daughter Becka retreats behind her guitar, her dreadlocks and her puppy fat, he offers her every one of a father's honest lies about her being the most beautiful girl in the world.
He loves his wife, his family, his work, his home. He loves his kitchen. And then one day he stands up and walks out. And keeps walking.
“Wildly romantic and surprisingly suspenseful...bringing those dark figures back to life, making them men again, and while she’s at it, using her passionate companion piece to The Iliad as a subtle swipe at today’s ongoing debate over gay marriage. Talk about updating the classics.” - Time Magazine
The Song of Achilles is a tale of gods, kings, immortal fame and the human heart, It is a dazzling literary feat that brilliantly reimagines Homer’s enduring masterwork, The Iliad. An action-packed adventure, an epic love story, a marvelously conceived and executed page-turner, Miller’s monumental debut novel has already earned resounding acclaim from some of contemporary fiction’s brightest lights - and fans of Mary Renault, Bernard Cornwell, Steven Pressfield, and Colleen McCullough’s Masters of Rome series will delight in this unforgettable journey back to ancient Greece in the Age of Heroes.
A Best Book of the Year for New York Times Book Review, Time, NPR, Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, Newsday, Vogue, New York Magazine, Seattle Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, The Guardian, Kirkus Reviews, Amazon, Publishers Weekly, Our Man in Boston, Oprah.com, and Salon
"Atmospheric and sensual, with startling images throughout, Euphoria is an intellectually stimulating tour de force." - NPR.com
Euphoria is Lily King’s nationally bestselling breakout novel of three young, gifted anthropologists of the ‘30’s caught in a passionate love triangle that threatens their bonds, their careers, and, ultimately, their lives. Inspired by events in the life of revolutionary anthropologist Margaret Mead, Euphoria is "dazzling... suspenseful... brilliant...an exhilarating novel.” (Boston Globe)
“Both a propulsive mystery and a profound examination of a mixed-race family, Ng’s explosive debut chronicles the plight of Marilyn and James Lee after their favored daughter is found dead in a lake.” - Entertainment Weekly
“Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.
“St. Germain has created a work of austere, luminous beauty...In his understated, eloquent way, St. Germain makes you feel the heat, taste the dust, see those shimmering streets. By the end of the book, you know his mother, even though you never met her. And like the author, you will mourn her forever.” - NPR
Tombstone, Arizona, September 2001. Debbie St. Germain’s death, apparently at the hands of her fifth husband, is a passing curiosity. But for her twenty-year-old son, Justin St. Germain, the tragedy marks the line that separates his world into before and after.
Distancing himself from the legendary town of his childhood, Justin makes another life a world away in San Francisco and achieves all the surface successes that would have filled his mother with pride. Yet years later he’s still sleeping with a loaded rifle under his bed. Ultimately, he is pulled back to the desert landscape of his childhood on a search to make sense of the unfathomable. What made his mother, a onetime army paratrooper, the type of woman who would stand up to any man except the men she was in love with? What led her to move from place to place, man to man, job to job, until finally she found herself in a desperate and deteriorating situation, living on an isolated patch of desert with an unstable ex-cop?
“Kean’s thoughtful, humorous book is a joy to read.” - Publishers Weekly
"A science journalist with a flair for words...[Kean's] language is fluid and accessible, even for the science-challenged." - Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal
In The Violinist's Thumb, Sam Kean explores the wonders of the magical building block of life: DNA.
There are genes to explain crazy cat ladies, why other people have no fingerprints, and why some people survive nuclear bombs. Genes illuminate everything from JFK's bronze skin (it wasn't a tan) to Einstein's genius. They prove that Neanderthals and humans bred thousands of years more recently than any of us would feel comfortable thinking. They can even allow some people, because of the exceptional flexibility of their thumbs and fingers, to become truly singular violinists.
Kean's vibrant storytelling once again makes science entertaining, explaining human history and whimsy while showing how DNA will influence our species' future.
"An informative history...about the creativity, political acumen, and courage of the high-flying Cold Warriors who sought to protect the free world in the decades after World War II." - Bloomberg, Andrew Dunn
It is the most famous military installation in the world. And it doesn't exist. Located a mere seventy-five miles outside of Las Vegas in Nevada's desert, the base has never been acknowledged by the U.S. government - but Area 51 has captivated imaginations for decades.
Annie Jacobsen had exclusive access to nineteen men who served the base proudly and secretly for decades and are now aged 75-92, and unprecedented access to fifty-five additional military and intelligence personnel, scientists, pilots, and engineers linked to the secret base, thirty-two of whom lived and worked there for extended periods. In Area 51, Jacobsen shows us what has really gone on in the Nevada desert, from testing nuclear weapons to building super-secret, supersonic jets to pursuing the War on Terror.
“With revealing observations on the centuries-old link between Jews and the diamond industry, and sparkling accounts of her familial ties to the business…. Oltuski, daughter of a diamond dealer, brings clarity in this study of the industry.” - Publishers Weekly
"A piercing, intensely readable book. Ms. Oltuski guides us through New York's diamond business, one of the world's most fascinating and hard-to-penetrate communities, with great aplomb." - Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story
In Precious Objects, twenty-six-year-old journalist Alicia Oltuski, the daughter and granddaughter of diamond dealers, seamlessly blends family narrative with literary reportage to reveal the fascinating secrets of the diamond industry and its madcap characters: an Elvis-impersonating dealer, a duo of diamond-detective brothers, and her own eccentric father.
With insight and drama, Oltuski limns her family’s diamond-paved move from communist Siberia to a displaced persons camp in post–World War II Germany to New York’s diamond district, exploring the connections among Jews and the industry, the gem and its lore, and the exotic citizens of this secluded world.