Original title: Murène

Author: Goby, Valentine

Publication Date:

August 2019



Original language and publisher

French | Actes Sud

Territories Handled

Netherlands, North America, Scandinavia


Literary Fiction


Original title: Murène

Author: Goby, Valentine

  • 2 Seas represents: Dutch, Nordic and North American rights.
  • Shortlisted for the Prix du roman Fnac 2019


Valentine Goby marks the strong portrait of a man who never ceases to come up with solutions in order to construct his life. — Claude Maine, Ouest-France

Within the saga of this extraordinary character, who will contribute to the creation of disabled sports, is a wonderful story of resilience told through Valentine Goby’s brilliant writing. — Valérie Susset, L’Est Républicain/Le Républicain Lorrain/Vosges Matin

A moving novel in which brilliant revenge resonates more than ever before. — Emmanuelle George, Page des libraires

A magnificent and luminous novel which will grip and move you. — Florence Dalmas, Le Dauphiné Libéré

A motivated account, and very heart-warming. — Karine Henry, France Culture

Much more than an artfully documented account of the birth of disabled sports, this novel, written tensely and without concession for implacable reality, is a hymn to the courage of those who defy misfortune. — Raphaëlle Coquebert, Ombres et Lumières

A text of such rare intensity and beautiful humanity about the fall of a man on his path towards the light. — Ariane Bois, Psychologies Magazine

Winter 1956: François is 22 years old and has chosen to travel after getting his baccalauréat instead of becoming the engineer everyone wants him to become. On this particular day, he finds himself with his massive limbs and lithe, well-honed muscles in the middle of an immaculate field of snow. The truck in which he has been riding has broken down and they need to find help before night falls. He comes across another truck stuck in the snow and hauls himself up onto its metal roof in the hope of spotting a village in the distance, but suddenly he plunges into the void – electrocuted and badly burnt. He undergoes an amputation in hospital and the doctors initially believe that he will never wake up again.

How will the destiny of François pan out and what will become of the memories and bonds that once constituted his existence? How will he rebuild his life, overcome his sorrow and find the will to battle on? This novel charts the emergence of disabled sports and the journey towards international competitions and the Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Following on from Kinderzimmer (2013), for which she won 13 literary prizes including the sought-after French booksellers’ prize, Baumes (2014) and Un paquebot dans les arbres (2016), this is Valentine Goby’s thirteenth novel.

Other books by this author