"A harrowing evocation of mental illness, and of one woman's terrifying inability to bear the burdens of motherhood. A sustained exercise in dread for the reader, but a surprisingly sympathetic portrait nonetheless." Lionel Shriver, author of We Need To Talk About Kevin


"I felt almost complicit for standing by and watching – for being so close to her story and understanding her powerlessness, her vulnerability, and yet not stepping in. I put the book down feeling changed, touched and, yes, troubled. Compelling and required reading. " Clare Hey

"With a creeping sense of foreboding I was under no illusions as to whether there would be a happy ending, but even so the concluding pages were shocking. Do not attempt to read if there is a black dog lurking anywhere in the vicinity. Powerful and affecting." Roz, review bookshop


"I hope you do not mind me writing to you but I just had to say thank you for 'Beside the Sea' by Veronique Olmi. I have read the whole book this afternoon and have never reacted with so much emotion to a novel. ... I will buy another copy for a friend who is coming up to 30 and just at the end of his BA in Creative Writing, I will tell him as he unwraps it 'now this is how books should be written'!" Louise Heys

"In this exquisitely crafted cameo of motherhood, Véronique Olmi takes woman where we do not want to go: into the dark interior of our most quintessential female experience. Never have I read so searing an account of the horror and isolation, the self-doubt and dissociation experienced in the mother-child relationship; never so piercing a description of the love. Olmi does not flinch, and neither should we. This is women’s writing as it should be and almost never is; a voice that could not belong to a man, describing territory utterly unknown to him." Kate Ashton, writer and translator

"Stories of mothers who are unable to cope, are rarely, if ever heard. Making Beside the Sea such an important book. It is not a comfortable read, but it is well told and filled with deep love. I felt it expressed a mother's love for her children almost more than any other book I can think of. ... It is all too easy to demonize these characters, rarely have we been offered an insight into the inner thoughts of someone who lives every waking moment of their life this way. Sleep is her own relief, death to her, is the only gift she can give her children. " Rachel Lichtenstein, author


"I have read it in one sitting and absolutely loved it.
I was impressed by the writer's ability to convey the feelings of the three main characters. The loneliness and despair of the Mother, the semi understanding of the quieter elder son and the "living in the minute" of the five year old. Because it is written in the first person, you almost get inside the Mother's bewildered head. The writer leaves a lot to the reader's imagination. Not knowing her name or where the family are adds to the desperate feeling of what will happen next. It was no secret that there was to be no happy ending and the feeling of anxiety pervades every paragraph." Teresa Jewett, Knaresborough


“The most intense female narrative I’ve come across in years. A powerful tale of human frailty, like Beckett’s Not I, it unlocks you from the inside.” Lisa Dwan, actress

"Imagine the intensity and bleakness of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road combined with a moving dissection of a woman’s breakdown  .... This is a shocking book which deals convincingly with a taboo subject and is the first in a series of short European novels by an exciting new publisher. Books as daring and powerful as this come along very rarely." Mark Brighton, Kew Bookshop


"I loved it - to be inside the mind of that poor woman, knowing what she intended - brilliantly written, in fact it didn't feel written because it flowed so well and the empathy I felt towards the mother was scary - by the end I found myself feeling along with her that she had no choice but to do what she did. ... A regular customer bought the book yesterday because I enthused about it so much, so hopefully she will spread the word or pass it on to someone else." Carol Treasure, Muswell Hill Bookshop

"Olmi raises the tension little by little so well, you wish it was on a screen and you could hide behind the couch. But you cannot." Stuart Charmak, Philip Howard Books, Rotherham

"I cheated and read your book yesterday. It is really devastating - a real visceral read. I can see why you picked this as one of your debut titles. This book will stay with me for a very very long time - and the ending so shattering.Yes, just my sort of book. Thank you so very much." Andy Hine, Foreign Rights Director, Little Brown