A World Without a Shore

Original title: Un monde sans rivage

Author: Gaudy, Hélène

Publication Date:

August 2019



Original language and publisher

French | Actes Sud

Territories Handled

Netherlands, North America, Scandinavia

Territories Sold

Spanish (World) (Tusquets)
English (World) (Black Inc. )
English (North America) (Zerogram Press)


Literary Fiction

A World Without a Shore

Original title: Un monde sans rivage

Author: Gaudy, Hélène


‘Luminous. A writer you feel envious of. The beautiful prose weaves a net of wonder around you.’ —Nikki Gemmell

‘I thoroughly enjoyed this taut rumination on grief, memory and human connection. Hélène Gaudy’s exquisite prose will hook you from the very first line and Stephanie Smee’s thoughtful translation perfectly captures the cold beauty of the Arctic regions. This book is a real gift.’ —Lauren Chater

‘Hélène Gaudy provides a profound and thought-provoking meditation on the human need to explore and discover, in a book that blurs the boundaries between history, fiction and reportage.’ —Kate Forsyth

‘Surveyed with the acuity of an ivory gull hovering above the Arctic ice, Hélène Gaudy fully inhabits this dazzling story of exploration, mystery and loss, in a sweep of human endeavour.’ —Robyn Mundy, author of Cold Coast, Wildlight, The Nature of Ice, Epic Adventure: Epic Voyages

Hélène Gaudy offers a magnificent and passionate interpretation of this awful expedition. Playing with the richness of time, the deep echoes of this tale in which we uncover the story of these men ripple all the way into the present day. — Page des libraires

Before our eyes, Hélène Gaudy recreates the adventure of these unsuspecting men, driven to madness by the thirst for recognition and the all-too-human curiosity that pushes us to circumscribe the world in order to uncover its deepest corners. Both a philosophical tale and a poetic saga, A World Without a Shore continues to haunt you long after you finish it. — Léonard Desbrières, Lire

In her fifth book she delivers, whilst constantly tempted by scholarly digression and tasty anecdotes, the passionate account of a foretold defeat. The alert lyricism, which elevates the most beautiful phrases, is accompanied by a subtle reflection on life that can only be delivered by poetry. — Zoé Courtois, Le Monde des Livres

This September, Hélène Gaudy is releasing an astonishing text, a narrative at once wide and chiselled by an aborted adventure. Gradually capturing these faceless silhouettes, giving them flesh, Hélène Gaudy unquestionably delivers a great novel. — Aliénor Debrocq, L’Echo

This superb novel explores the destiny of these three men, and the threatened story of landscapes, with an infinite delicateness. — Gilles Heuré, Télérama

Summer 1930, Svalbard: a walrus hunting boat sets sail for White Island, one of the last lands before the North Pole. The melting of the ice has revealed terrain that is usually inaccessible. As they move across the island, the men discover bodies and the remains of a makeshift camp.

It is the solution to a mystery that has hung in the air for 33 years: the disappearance in July 1897 of Salomon August Andrée, Knut Frænkel and Nils Strindberg as they tried to reach the North Pole in hot air balloons… Among the remains some rolls of negatives are found and some one hundred images are retrieved.

Based on these lunar-like black and white photographs and the expedition logbook, Hélène Gaudy retraces and re-imagines this great adventure that was blown off course.

From the conquest of the skies to the exploration of the poles, this novel reflects on the human need to circumscribe, discover, describe, conquer and ultimately shrink the world.

Born in Paris in 1979, Hélène Gaudy studied at the school of decorative arts in Strasbourg. She is a member of the Inculte collective and lives in Paris. She is the author of six novels. She has also written some dozen books for children.

Marketing Information

  • English translation available
  • 18,000 copies sold
  • Winner of the François Billetdoux 2020
  • Longlisted for Le Prix Goncourt
  • Shortlisted for Le Prix Joseph Kessel