Toilers of the Sea
This book is set and written in the island of Guernsey and was a bestseller on its publication in 1866. The story concerns a reclusive fisherman, Gilliatt, who is secretly in love with Deruchette, the niece of a local steamship owner. In the hope of winning her hand in marriage, Gilliatt undertakes to restore the fortunes of her uncle by rescuing the engine of his wrecked steamship. This proves a Herculean task, involving much danger and hardship; battling not only the elements but also a giant sea creature.
Part adventure, part romance and intrigue, in lyrical prose, typical of Hugo, the tale evokes the beauty of the island and includes wonderful poetic imagery of the sea and natural history of Guernsey.
Victor Hugo lived in Guernsey for 15 years whilst exiled from France. He also wrote Les Miserables. After his literary success of Contemplations he purchased Hauteville House in St Peter Port where the panoramic views of the sea from his study (the Crystal Room) at the top of the house inspired this book. The house still stands, unchanged, today and is now a tourist attraction.
by Victor Hugo
ELSP C/o The Guernsey Press Shop