Eva Baltasar, Julia Sanches
Permafrost’s no-bullshit lesbian narrator is an uninhibited lover and a wickedly funny observer of modern life. Desperate to get out of Barcelona, she goes to Brussels, ‘because a city whose symbol is a little boy pissing was a city I knew I would like’; as an au pair in Scotland, she develops a hatred of the colour green. And everywhere she goes, she tries to break out of the roles set for her by family and society, chasing escape wherever it can be found: love affairs, travel, thoughts of suicide.
Full of powerful, physical imagery, this prize-winning debut novel by acclaimed Catalan poet Eva Baltasar was a word-of-mouth hit in its own language. It is a breathtakingly forthright call for women’s freedom to embrace both pleasure and solitude, and speaks boldly of the body, of sex, and of the self.
'Permafrost is a discomfiting book about a sensual intoxication with life that just barely contains the desire for it to be over and done with forever. Like a perfect song, Eva Baltasar's words, as translated by Julia Sanches, have a sheen and inevitability that I won't soon forget. It held me in a trance.' Catherine Lacey; 'Reading Eva Baltasar's Permafrost is like having a rug continuously pulled out from under you until finally the rug disappears. How can a novel that orbits suicide be so surprising, so intensely liberating and funny, and at the same time, so full of grief? That is its genius.' Amina Cain; 'Forthright, fearless and funny, with a no-messing narrator, this is a maximal reading experience.' Wendy Erskine; 'An explosively witty, intense novel about freedom, desire and the body - Baltasar's voice is as bracing and sharp as cold mountain air, and her queer exploration of being and intimacy is intoxicating. Raw, fresh and uncompromising new writing.' Rebecca Tamas; 'Calling to mind the work of Herve Guibert and Olivia Laing, Permafrost is an iron fist swathed in velvet, a book at once inviting and intimidating, lush and severe, enormously witty, thoroughly intelligent, and devastatingly emotional. It is a text that trusts the wisdom of the body, finding pleasure everywhere-even in suicide, death, and disaster; this is the most weirdly uplifting book I have read in years, perhaps because it holds at its core such affection for all the nuances of being. Seamless, delicious, and nothing short of genius, Baltasar's fiction debut gives us "the whole crush of humanity[...] concentrated in a place that is absolutely personal."' Maryse Meijer; 'A novel about the beauty of love, sex and suicide, it strikes the perfect balance between passion, a dark sense of humour and tenderness.' Katharina Volckmer; 'Permafrost crackles and sparks with observations about living, family, and desire that are wry, searing, funny, and full of love for the love of women. A potent shot to be swallowed whole.' Saskia Vogel; 'Released from my annual dose of Bernhard, I usually feel a need for more and I usually do not have anything dark enough to hand. But this time I did - Permafrost by Eva Baltasar.' Imma Monso; 'A magma of sensations, doubts and aspirations. A trove of treasures. The piquancy of this novel, a surprise word-of-mouth hit in Spain, comes from the gap between the fantasies projected onto the narrator by the women around her--who see in her a free and contented woman--and the suffocating feeling constricting her. ' Le Monde; 'Eva Baltasar debuts as a novelist with a high voltage book about the self, the body, sex and the family. One of the books of the year.' La Vanguardia; 'The discovery of the year' Time Out ; 'Breathtaking, intense, poetic.' ABC; 'A cold but fiery lucidity, admirable, in its approach to detail.' El Mundo/El Cultural; 'Baltasar handles feelings as radioactive material, that is, as something that kills and illuminates us.' Babelia/El Pais; 'Baltasar describes how you didn't think it could be done. It surpasses everything. One of the best books of the year' La Vanguardia; 'Without doubt, one of the most memorable protagonists of contemporary Catalan narrative.' El Periodico; 'Baltasar is very skilled. A Catalan Dorothy Parker. Ironic, implacable.' La Repubblica; 'An investigation of the body as an instrument for measuring pain and desire. A besieged, solemn and majestically painful body, which ideally embraces all of humanity.' La Stampa; 'A new voice. Courageous and audacious. Baltasar's style is astonishing.' El Pais; 'Baltasar's is a strong debut.' Clarin; 'Intimate, beautiful, ironic and surprising.' Nuvol.com; 'An electrifying writing and a personal, raw and lucid gaze. It convinces.' Eva Piquer, Ara Llegim; 'Read until you come or read until you cry. That's what happens when you encounter the frozen casing of Permafrost. Ice, not because it is cold, but because it cracks.' Luna Miguel, Playground; 'Eva Baltasar performs an exercise in honesty with this protagonist, who does not beat about the bush and talks - talks to us - without half measures, without filters, without conventions. Perhaps that honesty has been responsible for the success of the novel, which has recently won the Premi Llibreter. This is the power of a voice without scorn, without regrets, that narrates its own introspection.' Jenn Diaz, El Periodico; 'Permafrost by Eva Baltasar is one of the revelatory books of this season . . . I had never read a book in Catalan about sex, seen from the perspective of a woman, such as Permafrost.' Julia Guillamon, Culturas; 'I came to Permafrost because it was recommended by everyone. And now I have devoured it, I also recommend it to you.' Jordi Benavente, La lanza; 'We talk about literature in capitals . . . This is a story that, in the search for reasons to end a life, allows us to find those reasons for which it is worth continuing to live, day by day, even if it is to be able to continue fantasizing about death, or even about life.' Marc Reig, A book a day
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