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‘Beside the Sea’ – turmoil below the surface in a book of icy beauty

Beside the Sea by Véronique Olme

This book is a small treasure– a wee jewel of a book. And that’s just the physical feel of it. It’s a beautiful artefact – feels lovely to hold, looks gorgeous.

As to what’s between the covers of this very slim volume – it’s heart-rending – desperately sad and tragic. I don’t want to give too much away so I’m not going to say too much about the story. Suffice to say it’s about a mother’s love and fear for her children. It won’t take you long to read it but it will stay with you for a long time after you finish it.

The writing is beautiful – icy and precise – and yet, at the same time, the words ache with love.

 It’s no surprise that the book is a French literary bestseller. It has been translated into all the major European languages and has sold more than 100,000 copies in Germany alone.

It’s published by Peirene Press and is the first book, out of three so far, published by them. I first heard about this press on – yeah, you’ve guessed it – the Eight Cuts site. Check them out at http://www.peirenepress.com – even the website is good-looking.

Their mission is to publish contemporary European literature (in English translation) – books that are ‘thought-provoking, well-designed, short’. They only publish novels that are 200 pages or less. It’s a neat idea and neatly packaged. Definitely proof that small is beautiful .

2 thoughts on “‘Beside the Sea’ – turmoil below the surface in a book of icy beauty

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