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A Sea of Oil (Une mer d’huile)

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Original Language: French | 128 pp. | August 2017

2 Seas represents: Dutch, Nordic, and North American rights.

FICTION

(Le Rouergue)

Very pleasant to read, very intimate: while in silence, this novel reveals to us the fragility of our inner worlds and the difficulty to live fully. However, it is also energising and optimistic, and it reminds us that the sometimes facetious experiences that life offers us can make us reborn overnight.  — Page des libraires

For 45 years, Danielle has been coming to spend the month of August in her holiday home on the Côte d’Azur. Every summer she is joined by her son and grandson, one a divorced psychiatrist and the other studying to get into one of France’s prestigious grandes écoles. It is family which is little given to emotions and so for the first time, dreading the predictably identical meals and walks and evening gatherings, Danielle has taken on the young Prisca as a maid. Prisca is a strange young woman, neither pretty nor ugly, who is friendly but keeps her distance – an enigma who immediately unsettles the family trio. But was this not Danielle’s secret intention? Prisca acts as the disruptive agent who, bringing into the open their deficiencies and their frustrations. This mesmerising novel bathes in light and sensations. “Do you have a dream?,” it asks its characters, and its readers too. Set amid the magnificent Mediterranean landscapes of Cap Nègre, this novel is a subtle parable of life.

Born in 1969 in Nyons in the Drôme, Pascal Morin teaches literature to undergraduates in Paris. All of his novels have been published in the “La brune” collection from the very first, L’eau du bain, to the most recent, Comment trouver l’amour à 50 ans quand on est parisienne (et autres questions capitales).