**SHORTLISTED FOR THE SCOTT MONCRIEFF PRIZE 2019**
**NOMINATED FOR THE MÉDICIS PRIZE 2018**
'A tale of travel and adventure, the story of a body utterly surrendered to pain and joy. It is mind-blowing, a delight.' Le Monde
Lili is a runaway. She’s left behind her native France to go in search of freedom, of adventure, of life. Her search takes her to Kodiak, Alaska, home to a ragtag community of fishermen, army vets and drifters who man the island’s fishing fleet. Despite her tiny frame, faltering English and lack of experience, Lili lands a job on board the Rebel, the only woman on the boat.
Out on the open sea, everything is heightened: colours are more vivid, sounds are louder and the work is harder than anything she's ever known. The terrifying intensity of the ocean is addictive to the point of danger. But Lili is not alone: in her fellow crewmembers she finds kindred spirits – men living on the edge, drawn to extremes.
Based on Catherine Poulain’s own experiences, and written in taut, muscular prose, Woman at Sea cuts through the noise of life and straight to the heart of our innermost longings.
Supple and taut, brutal and delicate, Woman At Sea pulled me about with the tug and thrust of an ocean-storm. The roars gave way to calm spells, though, so intensely beautiful I thought them made by magic. With whip-crackingly smart dialogue, and prose as clean as a sea-breeze, this book is delightfully, heartstoppingly frank. I devoured it, and will be pressing it on everyone I know.
Vividly evoked… Poulain’s visceral account of what it’s like to live such a heightened existence is gripping.
A vivid account of hard graft in treacherous conditions ... The salt-stung pages practically reek of the cod that the 30-something narrator, Lili, spends her days gutting, as she wins over a gruff crew doubtful she can earn her keep.
Poulain’s enthralling book… is utterly compelling. Like a tiny, vibrant dart hurled into an immensity of sea and sky, Lili commands attention throughout.
A debut novel of dazzling beauty.