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Day of Judgement?

Farrar, Strauss & Co's stable of authors often acted as readers for the firm. Around 1980, Roger Strauss asked Susan Sontag to read two novels: The Day of Judgement by Salvatore Satta and The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco.

"I said, 'Baby read these two f---ing books and tell me what you think," Strauss recalled. "She read them and said, You should buy both of them.' I said, 'Come on, how many Wops can I publish?' I said, 'Which one is best?'

"She said, 'they're both very good.' I said, 'Come on, which is the best.' She said, 'I love the Satta, a lot' so I bought the Satta, and turned down the Eco."

And? "Satta sold 2000 copies. Ha!"

The Name of the Rose, on the other hand, was published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich -- and sold 50 million copies worldwide.

["Eco knows the story," Strauss added. "He kids me about it."]

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