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The Breakers
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The Breakers

by Claudie Gallay
Translated by Alison Anderson

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In the storm-swept landscapes of Normandy’s coastline lies a village that might just be at the ends of the earth. A woman has recently arrived to seek healing for some deep sorrow, and spends her days cataloguing migratory birds. On the day of a battering storm a stranger appears in the bar, arousing her curiosity. He stirs up suspicion in the village, looking for answers to apparently unanswerable questions about his family lost long years ago in an accident at sea. What actually happened? How was it that the lighthouse did not guide them safely to shore?

The eccentric inhabitants of this desolate village seem riveted to old hatreds, determined to leave secrets buried. Gradually the bird-watcher succeeds in unravelling a tragedy at the heart of a community in which many are suffering still from the loss of people they have loved. And in the process finds her own peace.

The Breakers is an immensely satisfying and evocative mystery of great depth. Claudie Gallay unpeels the emotions of her unforgettable characters with such subtlety that the reader is captivated.

‘A gem of a book! 400 pages which crack like a whip, slap you in the face and ultimately explode, leaving you stunned and blissful’ François Busnel, L’Express.

‘This is a novel strung together from sentences as spare as its geographical background, and a deft translation carries evocative echoes of the French original’ Hephzibah Anderson, Daily Mail.

‘The unravelling of the mystery at its core is compelling and convincing’ Alannah Hopkin, Irish Examiner.

‘By drawing on the everyday, the small rituals, the uneasy exchanges, Gallay has written a slow-moving, calm, complicated and compelling novel that balances stagnation and panic, acceptance and denial, all juxtaposed with the way the past insists on shaping the present’ Eileen Battersby, Irish Times.

‘This is so atmospheric it transports you straight to the storm-lashed fishing village full of strange characters with old gripes still looming over their relations … it seethes with loss, intrigue and secrets’ U Magazine.

‘The pace and feel of this French bestseller is as measured and elegiac as its setting, its prose strikingly spare’ Telegraph.

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