Now a major play at the South Bank Centre "For years, no British publisher would touch Veronique Olmi's novel about a woman who kills her children. But now it is taking on a life of its own" The Guardian

 

Winner of the Scott Moncrieff Prize 2011 for Best English Translation from French 

 

Longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2011: "Some of the stories that linger longest will dodge every trend-spotting niche and generalising dictum. They include the lapidary sadness of a lonely French mother at the end of her tether in Véronique Olmi's Beside the Sea."

 

Booktrust's Top 5 Translated Books of the Year 2010: "beautifully written and translated" 

 

"This is a mesmerising portrait ... Ventriloquising for the mad, or rather for those who are mad in this way, is a risky business for novelists ... To capture this without alienating the reader is quite an achievement, and indeed valuable ... it should be read." Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian 

 

"This short novel has the trajectory of a classic tragedy with its taut time-span and sense of inevitability, as we witness a woman destroyed by a tragic flaw... The closing pages are heart-stopping and heartbreaking, yet one finishes this sad tale not depressed but uplifted by its ability to enlarge the reader's sympathies." Chris Schueler, The Independent

 

"prose ... filled with sad poetic sense and blunt, bleak realities, compellingly conveyed in Hunter's colloquial English. " TLS 

 

"Whether you like this intense little book will depend on whether you buy into its rather Gallic sense of its own seriousness."  Financial Times

 

"The triumph of Olmi’s book is that it doesn’t analyse. ... And that is very uncomfortable." Dan Holloway, Pank
 

 "There is a rumour that Beside the Sea will be translated, not only from the French, but from page to stage, back to Olmi’s original roots. I hope it happens. The Medea-like mother will be more painful to watch than to imagine, but the distortion between external and internal realities would be gripping. I want to see it already." Natalie Fast, Spectator Book Blog

 

""For me, Olmi’s decision to provide violence without context is doubly flawed: horror-film shocking and intellectually disappointing. And while there’s no lack of good writing, the implication that someone capable of killing her children would also be capable of “narrating” a grammatical and correctly-punctuated story in the first person is suspect." Will Marx, The World Books Review

 

"Tragic. Moving. Essential reading, offering painful insight into the human condition and particularly the lives of women. With the skill of a thriller writer, the mother-narrator propels you forward and, as the awful climax approaches, compels you to profoundly question your own life and relationships." Rosie Goldsmith, BBC

 

"A sad, disturbing and short novel about a mother taking her children to the seaside for the first and last time. Although its tone is very different from Lionel Shriver’s ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’ it is similarly disturbing and likely to prompt debate." Andrew Falconer, Managing Editor, Elle
 

“This story tears your heart apart … Véronique Olmi, thank you for this marvellous novel.” Journal du Dimanche

 

“A short novel full of wisdom and sadness. If you forget this book, you haven’t read it.” Süddeutsche Zeitung