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Beyond the Sea, the fourth novel from Irish writer Paul Lynch, was published on 29 August 2019 to much critical acclaim in the Irish press and beyond. Based partly on true events, Beyond the Sea tells the story of two South American fishermen, Bolivar and Hector, who go to sea before a catastrophic storm. When they are stranded at sea, they must push pushing against their physical and mental limits to stay alive.

In The Guardian, M John Harrison wrote: “… the scale of it, the extremity of it and the poetry of it are what Paul Lynch is going to show you…. Contemporary Irish fiction prizes delivery, daring and an implicit trust in the reader: Lynch demonstrates a control over his ideas that comes from a pure lyrical telling, a speech act that, if you let it, will take you anywhere. Beyond the Sea is frightening but beautiful.” The Irish edition of The Sunday Times wrote: “[Lynch’s] novels are artistic creations… and Beyond the Sea is based on an extraordinary true story…. Lynch’s concern is not only the minutiae of survival or men battling the elements, although his account of these is exciting and persuasive. His main interest lies in the existential struggle within: how men handle themselves in extremis…  His fourth novel has echoes of Melville, Dostoyevsky and William Golding… But the literary work it most invokes is Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, with its theme of crime and punishment.” At The Sunday Business Post, John Walshe called the novel, “a haunting, dreamlike novel”, “[with] a metaphysical, Beckett-esque bent…  [and] echoes of Gabriel García Márquez…” At The Scotsman, Roger Cox said the novel had, “the timeless aura and allegorical undertones of an ancient Greek myth….This is a book that will leave you feeling thoroughly wrung out by the final page, but also happy to be alive”. In a review in The Irish Independent, Hilary A White said, “Such an aching sense of spaciousness feels in the spirit of its exotic setting, of Latin American sensualists such as Paolo Coelho or Pablo Neruda, or the deep eastern wisdoms of Hermann Hesse… Beyond the Sea deserves a special place in Lynch’s increasingly fascinating and diverse catalogue”. At RTE.ie, Grace Keane wrote, “Lynch triumphed with Grace, his penultimate, Famine-themed novel and he does so again with Beyond the Sea. Fantastically written, a truly magnificent portrayal of the gritty battle between despair and hope.” Meanwhile, Hot Press said, “Paul Lynch is rightly considered one of Ireland’s rising literary stars…Beyond The Sea acts as parable: about hope vs despair and man vs nature (with subtle climate change warnings running throughout). It’s also a heart-rending story about relationships and redemption.”


Paul Lynch’s new novel, BEYOND THE SEA, will be published by Oneworld in Ireland and the UK, on 29 August 2019, followed by publication in the US by Farrar, Straus & Giroux on 10 March 2020. Speaking about Beyond the Sea, Oneworld publisher Juliet Mabey said: “This is a gripping and redemptive tale that sits squarely in the tradition of Camus, Joyce, Beckett and McCarthy. Readers and reviewers were captivated by the language in Grace, which was described by The Sunday Times as ‘bold, grandiose, mesmeric’, and for Paul’s evocative descriptions of the Irish landscape. For this new story Paul has moved from land to sea with all the beauty and merciless power that comes with that. I can’t wait for people to read it.”

According to Farrar, Straus & Giroux, this is “the haunting story of two men stranded at sea pushing against their physical and mental limits to stay alive. Based partly on true events, Paul Lynch’s haunting and sublime novel Beyond the Sea tells the story of two South American fishermen, Bolivar and Hector, who go to sea before a catastrophic storm. “Needing cash, Bolivar convinces his boss to let him fish despite the weather. His fishing partner is nowhere to be found, so he brings Hector, a sullen and inexperienced teenager. The storm arrives, and though the two men survive, they’ve been blown hundreds of miles out in the Pacific Ocean with little hope for rescue. Coming to terms with their new reality, they are forced to accept their separation from the modern world, their sudden and inescapable intimacy, and the possibilities and limits of faith, hope, and survival. As the days go by, they grapple with the mistakes of their pasts, the severity of their present, and the uncertainty of their future. And though Bolivar and Hector fight to maintain their will to live, nothing in the barren seascape or in their minds promises that they will make it. “Ambitious and profoundly moving, Beyond the Sea explores what it means to be a man, a friend, and a sinner in a fallen world. With evocative prose, Lynch crafts a suspenseful drama that refuses sentimentality or easy answers. Instead, Beyond the Sea is a hard-won and intimate rendering of the extremities of human life, both physical and mental.” In advance praise for the book, Canadian author Jane Urquhart, said “Combining the sensibilities of a Joseph Conrad or a Cormac McCarthy with the poetic intensity of an Emily Dickinson, this rich, raw, and powerful seascape by Paul Lynch throws the sea’s storms and the sea’s light into the darkest corners of human consciousness. An astonishing achievement.” Irish novelist, Mary Costello, author of Academy Street, called the novel, “a powerful, heart-breaking story of friendship forged in the most extreme conditions. With its echoes of Greek myth, it yields up those small moments of grace that are deeply transformative.”



Grace has been shortlisted in France for two prizes, the Prix Jean Monnet de Littérature Européenne 2019, and the Grand Prix de L’Héroïne 2019. Previously, Grace was also shortlisted for the Prix Littérature Monde. Many thanks to the remarkable work of my translator Marina Boraso, and my publishing team at Albin Michel.

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