franzobel: THE RAFT OF THE MEDUSA

FRANZOBEL, Das Floss der Medusa

Three barrels of wine, one barrel of water and a bag of rusks for 147 people on raft adrift in the ocean: Franzobel’s impressive novel about the cost of survival.

18. July 1816: Off the west coast of Africa, the captain of the Argus discovers a raft which is about 20 metres long. What he sees on it makes his blood run cold: 15 emaciated figures, hollow eyes, parched lips, hair stiff from the salt, burned skin full of wounds and blisters. They are the last of 147 people who survived two weeks in the open sea after the sinking of the frigate Medusa. Since there was not enough room in the lifeboats, they were abandoned.

This historically documented story is the preamble of Franzobel’s epochal novel, aiming at the core of human existence.

How high is the price of survival?

Zsolnay Verlag 592 pages ISBN/EAN978­3­552­05816­3 EUR 26,80 Available in bookstores


Franzobel is an Austrian writer. He has published numerous plays, works of prose and poems. His plays have been produced in countries including Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Denmark, France, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, Italy, Russia and the USA.

His great historical adventure novel “Das Floß der Medusa” (Zsolnay publishing house) was awarded the Bayerischer Buchpreis (Bavarian Book Award) 2017 and was on the shortlist for the German Book Prize 2017.