The Inventor

Original title: L’Inventeur

Author: Bonnefoy, Miguel

Publication Date:

August 2022



Original language and publisher

French | Payot & Rivages

Territories Handled

Netherlands, North America, Scandinavia

Territories Sold

English (World) (Other Press)
Netherlands (De Bezige Bij)


Literary Fiction

The Inventor

Original title: L’Inventeur

Author: Bonnefoy, Miguel


The extraordinary life of Augustin Mouchot, a locksmith’s son and an obscure math teacher who discovered solar energy back in the mid-19th century.

The machine Mouchot built, nicknamed Octave, attracted Napoleon III’s attention. Presented at the 1878 Universal Exhibition in Paris, among other extraordinary achievements, it was able to produce a block of ice using solar power alone, for the first time in history.

But the advent of the age of coal soon brought down Mouchot’s project, which was seen as too costly. After all sorts of adventures, he made one last attempt to revive interest in his invention by “making the desert bloom” under the Algerian sun.

With the delightful eloquence he’s known for, Miguel Bonnefoy’s latest novel – inspired by a true story – offers a stunning portrait of a forgotten genius.

Marketing Information

Miguel Bonnefoy is the author of several highly acclaimed novels, including Octavio’s Journey (Vocation Prize), Black Sugar and Heritage (2021 Booksellers’ Prize). His work has been translated into some two dozen languages.

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