The Laws of the Skies

Translated by: Rhonda Mullins

Winnie-the-Pooh meets The Blair Witch Project in this very grown-up tale of a camping trip gone horribly awry.

Twelve six-year-olds and their three adult chaperones head into the woods on a camping trip. None of them make it out alive. The Laws of the Skies tells the harrowing story of those days in the woods, of illness and accidents, and a murderous child.

Part fairy tale, part horror film, this macabre fable takes us through the minds of all the members of this doomed party, murderers and murdered alike.


Rhonda Mullins

Rhonda Mullins is a Montreal-based translator who has translated many books from French into English, including Jocelyne Saucier’s And Miles To Go Before I Sleep, Grégoire Courtois’ The Laws of the Skies, Dominique Fortier’s Paper Houses, and Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette’s Suzanne. She is a seven-time finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation, winning the award in 2015 for her translation of Jocelyne Saucier’s Twenty-One Cardinals. Novels she has translated were contenders for CBC Canada Reads in 2015 and 2019 and one was a finalist for the 2018 Best Translated Book Award. Mullins was the inaugural literary translator in residence at Concordia University in 2018. She is a mentor to emerging translators in the Banff International Literary Translation Program.


“Unflinching in its savagery, the nightmarish poetry of this modern Lord of the Flies is undeniable.” – Publishers Weekly

“The French know how to push horror’s boundaries, and Courtois is no exception. In this sliver of a novel, he gradually picks off his cast, mounting tension by juxtaposing horrific action with the children’s innocence and an innocuous setting… Courtois’ expertly orchestrated decimation melds into a brutal whole that leaves the reader shaken, though its final images will prove unshakable.” – Booklist, starred review

“Excellent…crystalline.” —New York Times, Summer Reads

“Where can the line between the primal storytelling of fairy tales and horror stories be found? In The Laws of the Skies, which focuses on a camping trip gone horribly wrong, it becomes readily apparent that the border territory between those two types of stories can be its own fertile territory for captivating narratives.” – Vol. 1 Brooklyn, “May 2019 Book Preview”

“The ensuing story has a whiff of allegory: adults abandon their charges, classmates turn against classmates, and nature, quite literally, swallows them up. It’s unsettling. Along the way, Courtois raises pointed questions about the environment, the hereditary nature of evil, and the responsibilities of an older generation to the new. I felt absolutely nauseated by the end, and I have to admire that—it’s not every day that a book provokes such a strong physical reaction in me.” – Rhian Sasseen, The Paris Review Staff Picks

“Courtois’ new forest noir of children gone missing in the woods evokes myth, fairytale, and nightmare. The Laws of the Skies begins when a school trip to explore nature leaves a number of students stranded with a murderer, and only gets stranger from there. Also this one wins oddest comparison blurb — the publisher describes this book as ‘Winnie-the-Pooh meets the Blair Witch Project.’ In other words, irresistible!” – CrimeReads, “May’s Best International Crime Fiction”

“A savage little book that reads like a cross between Lord of the Flies and a lost-in-the-woods slasher novel… an intense yet ambiguous critique of our love for violence.” – Brian Evanson for Publishers Weekly, “10 Scariest Novels”

That is what Courtois aims to do — shock and destabilize — and that is what he does in this slim novel about a children’s camping trip gone horribly wrong. – New York Times, Summer Reads

The Law of the Skies is not an easy book to digest, and I’m sure it won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but I found it exhilarating to read a novel that’s this unflinching, this nihilistic, and also this deeply profound.” – Locus Magazine


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152 Pages

0.49lb0.5in5.0in * 8.0in


May 07, 2019


Coach House Books



Book Subjects:

FICTION / Humorous / Black Humor



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