Rejection followed rejection once the manuscript for A Blonde Bengali Wife was completed. And however nice the notes were, they were still rejections. In fact, it's fair to say that the nice ones ('we loved this but...') are far more infuriating than the pre-printed photocopied slip complete with coffee stain and addressed to Miss Hambleton/Hamill (or on one occasion Mr Roy Thompson with reference to his novel The Byronic Man... If you're out there Roy, best of luck!)
I went back to Bangladesh. When my flatmate of the time, a few weeks after my return to a job in Edinburgh, casually remembered that someone calling herself a literary agent had called in my absence and said I should phone back - who, when it was said flatmate wasn't sure, oh dear, was it important..?
Dinah Wiener, a very experienced and successful literary agent in London eventually took a risk on the book. 'It's not very commercial and I have doubts I'll ever manage to sell it,' was what she said, 'but I do feel passionate about it and it makes me want to go to Bangladesh.'
And go to Bangladesh she did.
PS The book launch is tomorrow. The books, the focal point of the event, the things I am meant to be signing in front of a huge and enthusiastic audience(!) are somewhere in transit in courier-land. Is this an omen?