The Luminous Sea

Author: Melissa Barbeau
Genre: Fiction
Format: paperback
Pages: 184
Dimensions: 5 x .75 x 8 in
Weight: 1 kg
Published: August 14, 2018
ISBN: 9781550817379

A team of researchers from a nearby university have set up a research station in a fictional outport in Newfoundland, studying the strange emergence of phosphorescent tides. And Vivienne, a young assistant, accidentally captures a creature unknown to science: a kind of fish, both sentient and distinctly female. As the project supervisor and lead researcher attempt to exploit the discovery, the creature begins to waste away, and Vivienne must endanger herself to save them both.



  • Gold Medal, Fiction (Canada-East), IPPY Awards
  • 2019 Georgian Bay Reads Winner
  • NL Reads 2019 finalist
  • 2019 BMO Winterset Award finalist
  • 2019 Next Generation Indie Book Awards finalist (Best Cover Design)
  • 2020 International Dublin Literary Award longlist
  • The Miramichi Reader’s 2019 Very Best Book Award!, Best First Book longlist
  • NLBA Fiction Award finalist



“The magic realism of Melissa Barbeau’s debut novel may remind readers of Michael Crummey’s ‘Galore,’ and she belongs in such company.  Her writing is alive with wit and description.” – Joan Sullivan, The Telegram

“…the type of first novel that will leave you wanting to read the author’s next effort.  A notable first book, and I will add it to my 2019 longlist in the ‘Best First Book: Fiction’ category.” – The Miramichi Reader

“Anyone who loves the sea, or feels drawn to stories of the sea, will likely feel drawn to ‘The Luminous Sea’…it is splendid in every way.” – Consumed By Ink

“Melissa Barbeau is an extraordinary writer, and I can’t stop talking about this book.” – Pickle Me This

The Luminous Sea by Melissa Barbeau softly melds the quiet thrill of scientific discovery while questioning its moral integrity. A stunning debut, the Newfoundland author captures the essence of the Canadian Maritimes with a novel that is smart, thoughtful, and inventive….” – The Fiddlehead

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