Breaststrokes

9th May 2024

'Vialleron’s writing is laced with a love for these women who can barely love themselves. A novel for anyone interested in the way the body keeps score or in the complex intimacies between women’ — Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

‘Timely, structurally inventive, with delicious prose' — Pip Finkemeyer

 

A novel on consent told in five acts over the course of one weekend.

Cloe and Gertrude and the Jenkins-Bell sisters, Mathilde and Sarah, have never met. They are strangers who share a city.

It is Sunday morning. Cloe has woken-up in someone else’s home; Gertrude starts her shift in the pub kitchen, while Mathilde and Sarah are on their way to lunch.

Soon, these four women’s lives will overlap.

Saturday felt like a normal day, but on Sunday the past will catch-up with them as they realise that there never is only one side to a story.

Sharply observed and painfully relatable, Breaststrokes is a novel that seems to emerge from the haze of our current time. This story of unexpected encounters and intimacies is perfect for fans of Cleopatra and Frankenstein and Beautiful World, Where Are You.

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‘Reading Breaststrokes felt a little like watching ribbons unfurl – or intertwine. Margaux Vialleron writes tenderly and evocatively about female friendship, fear and desire’ — Chloë Ashby, author of Wet Paint and Second Self

Breaststrokes is a study of womanhood, vulnerability, and the secrecy of the inner life. Vialleron’s writing is laced with a love for these women who can barely love themselves. A novel for anyone interested in the way the body keeps score or in the complex intimacies between women’ — Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, author of Harmless Like You, Starling Days and The Sleep Watcher

‘Timely, structurally inventive, with delicious prose. A deep-dive into what consent – in all its forms – actually means, in a modern young woman’s life, and into what happens when you pair ideas of pleasure and consent. A joy in its originality, Vialleron lights up the inner lives and perspectives of four women across a day. There’s a question at the heart of Breaststrokes that you feel compelled to find the answer to’ — Pip Finkemeyer, author of Sad Girl Novel

‘Beware, listen and observe, but don’t internalise their signals and words; give Cloe, Gertrude, Mathilde and Sarah a chance – they mean to be relatable rather than truthful.’