Breaststrokes

9th May 2024

'It will tug at your heart strings' — Araminta Hall

'this is thought provoking and relatable, written in lyrical prose' — Glamour

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

'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

 

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.

You can buy your copy at your favourite bookshop. I’ve listed a few links here for you.

‘From the highs of triumphing over adversity to the lows of confronting societal prejudices, this is thought provoking and relatable, written in lyrical prose. The characters are layered, fleshed out and so well written, they will feel like old friends at the end of reading this book’ – Glamour, best new books of May 2024

‘A courageous and tender tale’ – Sunday Post

‘Delving into themes of consent, bodily autonomy and both literal and figurative sisterhood, it’s a love letter to the tiny moments of intimacy that spark between strangers every day, and will leave you trying to picture the inner lives of everyone on the plane home.’ – GQ

‘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 tender, lyrical novel about the ripples caused when consent is taken away from women and the loneliness this causes, even when you’re surrounded by people. It will tug at your heart strings.’ — Araminta Hall, author of Imperfect Women and One of the Good Guys

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

‘Pleasure, desire and the past catch up with Cloe, Gertrude, Mathilde and Sarah in Vialleron’s bold and fascinating new novel’ – My Weekly

‘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.’