The Laws of the Skies

Grégoire Courtois (Author) Rhonda Mullins (Translator)

Product Details

$16.95  $15.59
Coach House Books
Publish Date
May 14, 2019
5.0 X 0.6 X 7.9 inches | 0.5 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Grégoire Courtois lives and works in Burgundy, where he runs the independent bookstore Obliques, which he bought in 2011. A novelist and playwright, he has published three novels with Le Quartanier: Révolution (2011), Suréquipée (2015), and Les lois du ciel (2016). In 2013 he founded Caractères, an international book festival in Auxerre, which he continues to run.
Rhonda Mullins is a translator living in Montreal. She won the 2015 Governor General's Literary Award for Translation for Jocelyne Saucier's Twenty-One Cardinals and is a five-time finalist for the award. Her translation of Anaïs Barbeau-Lavallette's Suzanne was a 2019 finalist for CBC Canada Reads, as was her translation of Saucier's And the Birds Rained Down, in 2015.


"The French know how to push horror's boundaries, and Courtois is no exception. In this sliver of a novel, he gradually picks off his cast, mounting tension by juxtaposing horrific action with the children's innocence and an innocuous setting... Courtois' expertly orchestrated decimation melds into a brutal whole that leaves the reader shaken, though its final images will prove unshakable." -- Booklist, starred review
"Where can the line between the primal storytelling of fairy tales and horror stories be found? In The Laws of the Skies, which focuses on a camping trip gone horribly wrong, it becomes readily apparent that the border territory between those two types of stories can be its own fertile territory for captivating narratives." -- Vol. 1 Brooklyn, "May 2019 Book Preview"
"The ensuing story has a whiff of allegory: adults abandon their charges, classmates turn against classmates, and nature, quite literally, swallows them up. It's unsettling. Along the way, Courtois raises pointed questions about the environment, the hereditary nature of evil, and the responsibilities of an older generation to the new. I felt absolutely nauseated by the end, and I have to admire that--it's not every day that a book provokes such a strong physical reaction in me." -- Rhian Sasseen, The Paris Review Staff Picks
"Courtois' new forest noir of children gone missing in the woods evokes myth, fairytale, and nightmare. The Laws of the Skies begins when a school trip to explore nature leaves a number of students stranded with a murderer, and only gets stranger from there. Also this one wins oddest comparison blurb -- the publisher describes this book as 'Winnie-the-Pooh meets the Blair Witch Project.' In other words, irresistible!" -- CrimeReads, "May's Best International Crime Fiction"
"Unflinching in its savagery, the nightmarish poetry of this modern Lord of the Flies is undeniable... this wicked novel plumbs the darkest reaches of childhood fears and finds plenty to be afraid of." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review
"A savage little book that reads like a cross between Lord of the Flies and a lost-in-the-woods slasher novel... an intense yet ambiguous critique of our love for violence." -- Brian Evanson for Publishers Weekly, "10 Scariest Novels"