Victor Jestin


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Scribner UK
28 July 2022
ISBN: 9781471199790
112 pages

From the publisher

Translated by Sam Taylor

‘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