In the Contentin peninsula on the northern coast of Brittany, lies a village that to all intents and purposes might just be at the end of the world. Amid this desolation, a stranger appears in the cafe and begins stirring up suspicion about the village's lighthouse keeper, now retired. An old grandmother wanders the beaches, looking for a child named Michel. Meanwhile, a woman arrives from the south. The man of her life has just died and she throws herself into her work, cataloguing her surroundings in obsessive detail. The villagers seem to be guarding old secrets about events in their past. But what actually happened? Who were the victims? Who is seeking answers - and why? This mystery has the force of a Greek tragedy unravelled, as secrets and answers slowly come to light. Set in a vast, empty landscape where the sea endlessly breaks on the rugged shore, The Breakers is as fascinating about the seascape and the birdlife as it is about the inhabitants of the village and the events that unfolded so long ago.
Winner of Grand prix des lectrices de Elle: Categorie Roman (Elle Readers Grand Prize: Fiction) 2009.
Claudie Gallay is a teacher who lives in Provence. Her previous novels have all been well received, but The Breakers was her breakthrough novel, becoming a runaway bestseller in France. Alison Anderson's translations include Muriel Barbery's bestselling novel The Elegance of the Hedgehog. She is also the author of two novels, Hidden Latitudes and Darwin's Wink. She lives in Switzerland.