Heatwave: The most deliciously dark beach read of the summer

21,000+ Reviews
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‘A short, sharp, shock of a novel… beautifully done’  Daily Mail
'The modern day successor to Francoise Sagan' Evening Standard
‘Jestin evokes adolescent turmoil with great delicacy and poignancy’ Times Literary Supplement
'The Summer Page-Turner You Have To Read' Waterstones

Winner of the Prix de la vocation 2019
Winner of the Prix Femina de lycéens 2019

Longlisted for the Crime Writers Association 'Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger' 2022

Oscar is dead because I watched him die and did nothing.

It is the end of August and the long summer holidays are drawing to a close. Seventeen-year-old Leonard is on a camping holiday with his family in the South of France. Awkward and ill at ease, he is an outsider who creeps away from parties unnoticed after a couple of drinks.

On the final Friday of the trip, unable to sleep, Leonard goes for a walk and sees one of the boys from the campsite, Oscar, hanging from the rope of a playground swing. Leonard watches as the rope slowly strangles Oscar. Then, unable to think straight, he buries the body in the sand, and returns to his tent.

The next day is the hottest in seventeen years. Disoriented by the oppressive heat, and distracted by his desire for a girl named Luce, Leonard spends the ensuing hours trying not to unravel.
A literary sensation in France, Heatwave is an unsettling and evocative novel that examines our darkest impulses.

Translated by Sam Taylor, translator of Lullaby by Leila Slimani, The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair by Joël Dicker and HHhH by Laurent Binet


"This is a searingly vivid novel that depicts the torments of adolescence in a sensual, carnal way. But it is also a profound meditation on the mystery of evil, our deadly urges, and the savagery that lies deep within each of us. I loved the writing, which is spare but highly evocative, and I admired the way that the author used the enclosed world of the campsite to fuel the claustrophobic tension that mounts throughout." Leila Slimani, author of Lullaby

‘With a searing voice, Victor Jestin captures the stale air of tents, the cheap music, the guys disguised in pink bunny suits who force you to have fun, teenagers as poignant as they are idiotic, rage, desire, absurdity. In effect, scorching’ Grazia

‘Eerie, propulsive, sexy, and unsettling, Victor Jestin’s Heatwave carries the coming-of-age novel into darkly surprising new territory. With echoes of the films of Francois Ozon, this intense, slim novel is a hot summer read that lingers long after you finish the last page’ Laura Sims, author of Looker

‘A fiery page-turner’ Entertainment Weekly

‘Jestin’s charged and chilling debut turns on a stifling vacation that descends from purgatory into a nightmarish inferno’ Publishers Weekly

‘Victor Jestin succeeds in transporting us with almost nothing, this unique style, this voice—one might almost say these whispers.... A tour de force’ Le Figaro Culture

‘For his first novel, Victor Jestin displays a stunning literary talent. It’s short, pitiless, polished, perfectly realized’ Livres Hebdo

‘Every page burns your fingers’  Le Figaro Magazine

‘The young author of this first novel keeps all promises, with writing of a rare precision, mature and carnal... Moving and cinematic’ La Vie

‘At 25, Victor Jestin makes his mark with an unsettling first novel’ Elle

‘An author so young, who succeeds in creating such a powerful fable, demands to be followed’ Lire

‘A sensual first novel that’s remorseless about the end of innocence’ Le Vif L’Express

‘A beautiful narrative that puts into play the kind of guilt that won’t quit a boy who’s alienated from his world and resistant to all its codes’ Telerama

‘Tense and brief, this text plays with the codes of a first novel to paint a portrait of a sad and aloof teenager’ L’Humanite

‘Victor Jestin portrays with cruel exactitude the throes of an adolescent trapped in a secret too heavy to bear’ L’Obs

‘At 25, Victor Jestin has written a Sagan-like novel. A Francoise Sagan of today under high heat, in the full sense of the word’ Le Parisien Dimanche

‘This drawn-out wandering of a boy outside the norm has been brought to life by the incredible precision of this young author’s voice’ Prima

‘You devour this book, but its effects linger, so strongly does it reverberate with destinies sacrificed to the yawn of the void’ Le Point


Product Details

£8.99  £8.54
Simon & Schuster Ltd
Publish Date

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