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  • Writer's pictureMax Sinsheimer

SOLD! Disposable City (by Mario Alejandro Ariza)

All book sales are exciting, especially to an early career literary agent, but this one is an extra dose of fun. Mario is a college friend, and this is his debut book!

Disposable City, which will be published by Nation Books (a Hachette subsidiary and part of the excellent nonprofit Nation Institute) is a deeply personal investigation of the present and future peril of sea level rise and climate warming in the Magic City (a harbinger for coastal cities worldwide). It began with Mario's desire to settle down in Miami, and his realization that many of the properties he was looking at were predicted to literally be underwater before the end of the 30 year mortgage term. Mario got to know Miami’s politicians, realtors, engineers, urban planners, “resiliency officers,” actuaries pricing flood risks, climatologists, sociologists, and the residents already dealing with “sunny-day flooding." I view it as a grassroots, boots-on-the-ground view of a city already leaking at the seams. As one editor put it, "climate change is an issue that can feel so abstract, and by locating it in the city where he grew up, Mario lends to it the concreteness and emotional pull often missing from climate discourse."

A quick word about the fantastic editor who picked this up, Remy Cawley. She saw the potential instantly last year when she was an editor at Norton, and helped us figure out the chapter structure and the balance between personal narrative, reporting, and popular science. Ultimately other editors at Norton didn't fall in love, which happens, but luckily Remy left this summer for Nation Books, and they did! Thanks for your perseverance and enthusiasm, Remy. There is no better feeling as an agent than finding the perfect match between an author, editor, and publisher.

Here is the Publisher's Marketplace deal memo:

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