Au péril de la mer | The Island of Books

Au péril de la mer | The Island of Books

by Dominique Fortier
  • french-from-quebec
  • from-quebec
  • literary
  • women-s
At once a novel and a journal, Au péril de la mer is a fabulous homage to books and to those who create them, written in the spirit of Pascal Quignard and Alberto Manguel. In its library’s golden age, the Mont-Saint-Michel was known as the Realm of Books. That is where, during the 15th century, a painter haunted by the memory of the one he loved finds refuge inside the gray walls of the abbey. It is there, between sky and sea, that a novelist searching for the Realm of Books will find the painter five hundred years later. They will meet on the pages of a journal left out in the rain.


Dominique Fortier, author

Dominique Fortier is an editor and translator living in Outremont, Quebec. Her first novel, On the Proper Use of Stars (2008), was nominated for a Governor General's Award, and Au péril de la mer won the Governor General's Award for French fiction. She is the author of five books, three of which have been translated into English.


  • ‘Throughout these emotional rescues in the high seas, Dominique Fortier’s writing is carried on a rich, beautiful and evocative language. The recurrent use of words from old French adds a patina that is appropriate for this journey filled with touching, illuminating moments … Dominique Fortier plunges into the depths of human paradox and emerges with a love of books that she shares with grace and generosity.’ - La Presse
  • ‘Dominique Fortier has a gift for making insightful connections between seemingly distant ideas, creating patterns that, at the end of the novel, leave you with the impression that everything is connected, both logically and supernaturally. Set in an improbable fortress in the middle of the sea, her fourth novel explores the to and fro of love and creation. With writing that is both graceful and honed, The Island of Books gives love, maternity and particularly books the mystery that is their due.’ - Jean-Marc Vallée
  • ‘Intriguing and poetic … with the delicate skill of a painter, Fortier presents a beautiful homage to art and its creation, as well as the humanity and life that inevitably rub off on the page or the canvas.’ - Publishers Weekly


  • The Governor General's Award for French fiction
  • Nominated for The Quebec Bookseller's Prize
  • Nominated for The IMPAC Dublin's Literary Award

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: Alto



rights sold: Canada (World English), Macedonia, Armenia, Albania, Ukraine

rights available: World

Additional Information

number of pages: 184

publication date: 09/20/2015

Original language of pub: French | Français

Materials Available: finished book