Angela Royal Publishing 1999 (UK) & Anchor Press 2000 (UK)
Farrar Straus & Giroux 2000 Hardback (USA) & Picador 2003 (USA)
Actes Sud, 2001 (France)
"I threw everything I had into these tunnels..." - Leone Ross
Orange Laughter is Leone Ross's second novel, and tells the story of Tony Pellar, a man of fading fortunes and beauty, who finds himself in the subway tunnels of New York in 1995. Tony is battling insanity, as he is pursued by the spectre of Agatha, a woman who took care of him during his childhood in North Carolina.
Increasingly violent and confused, Tony writes to his childhood friend, Mikey, begging him to tell him the story of their childhood, details that he has forgotten but must use as the laughter of the woman he calls the Soul Snatcher follows him through the gloom.
The novel returns to the South during the civil rights movement as Tony and Mikey share the secrets of lost innocence, murder and twisted love in a desperate chance to save themselves and create a future.
7 Things You Didn't Know... about
• Orange got Leone her first publishing contract. The publisher read the original 2,391 word story she wrote when she was 18 years old under a mango tree in Jamaica.
• The Metropolitan Transport Authority wouldn’t take Leone into the New York subway tunnels because of new city legislation.
- They'd taken crime writer Patricia Cornwell down a year before and they were pissed at her rendition.
- Tony haunted Leone for years before and after she wrote the novel. Even now, she can’t quite get him out of her head. He does have elements of three of her ex-boyfriends...
• Mikey is the embodiment of many of Leone’s fears but none of her actual experiences.
• Leone is proudest of the miscarriage scene.
• She believes no-one will ever be able to draw Tony’s face, because it's beautiful.
Original ARP Cover
What The Real People Say
"Who says a page turner can't engage all of your mind? This book - I could not put it down, I read it all in one sitting."
"It was a wonderful book to discover."
"I couldn't put it down until I read the last word."
Actes Sud French edition
What The Real People Say
"Her sensitiveness to what makes us tick as human beings is remarkable."
"...the kind of book that stays with you for a long time..."
UK Trade Paperback
Anchor Press, Transworld
What The Real People Say:
"Ralph Ellison is still alive."
"I promise you that after reading this delightful novel you will never forget the book nor its author...brilliantly written in a style like none other. A totally enjoyable read."
"I could not put it down..."
I can't explain why, but something abut the book edified my soul, haunted me, made me want to write, made what I know seem real ... If that makes sense..."
Praise for Orange Laughter
"Ross' s first novel, All The Blood Is Red was long-listed for the 1997 Orange prize. Her follow up...deserves to win it...not only a powerful story, this exceptionally fine novel is also a sophisticated examination of memory, madness and the saving graces of the imagination." - The Daily Telegraph
“…an intricate tale of love and painful secrets…” - Interview magazine
"...her voice is so fresh, taking us to childhood moments so expertly rendered..." - Washington Post
“…a literary rollercoaster…” - People magazine ***
"Leone Ross has a powerful style, a taste for complex organisation and a strong imagination...a brilliant novel...." - World Literature Today
“There is no shortage of powerful material in this excellent tale of discrimination, fear and prejudice in New York and the horrors of the KKK in the Deep South. Very much for the Alice Walker/Toni Morrison market and much praised by our reader. Flawless.” - The Bookseller
"Chillingly real--raw, naked in its desperation, darting to the edge of sanity and back. Ross has created a powerful story and unforgettable characters." - Booklist
"The finely controlled pacing yields an emotional clout as chilling as the times it evokes. Literate and accomplished." - Publishers Weekly