The Raft

Arabella Edge

14 June 2012
352 pages


A tale of grand passion set in Paris in 1818, Arabella Edge’s second novel is inspired by the story of Théodore Géricault and his extraordinary masterpiece The Raft of the Medusa.

Aged just twenty-one, Géricault is feted at the prestigious salon for his painting Charging Chasseur. Seven years later – lovesick and distracted by his secret affair with his benefactor–uncle’s wife, Alexandrine – he is still desperately searching for inspiration for his next work. Then he hears about the French frigate Medusa, wrecked off the west coast of Africa. With a hundred and fifty souls abandoned on a makeshift raft, rumours of madness, murder and cannibalism horrify the French public but fascinate Géricault; when he manages to track down two of the raft’s survivors to discover what really happened during those fifteen days at sea, he knows he has finally found his subject.

‘This is a marvellously rich and pacy novel about the gestation of a masterpiece . . . Arabella Edge weaves a combination of fable, thriller and costume comedy of manners’ Novel of the Week, Telegraph