Antarctica of Love
ORIGINAL TITLE: Kärlekens antarktis
NUMBER OF PAGES: 307 pages
AUTHOR: Sara Stridsberg
ORIGINAL PUBLISHER: Albert Bonniers Förlag, 2018
“I stared out through the streaming window of the car at the rain falling from the sky, I saw the trees stooping over the road. It was June, it was the month for disappearing, the month for being found in bits, the month for losing your head, your tongue and your genitals. Solveig’s gaze followed me wherever I went and each time I closed my eyes I looked into hers, completely still and clear, watching me from eternity. We drove through a tunnel of rain and flowers and trees and the world now was this one place, this single chamber, a grave and a coffin, a wall of trees that all would soon be dead. But first I had to die.”
She has been in the world for a brief moment, a world with needs, demands and fears. Until someone decided to snuff out her life and strew the landscape with her body parts. But there are still the children, who were hers once, Valle and Solveig, taken into the care of the authorities and placed somewhere along the length of Sweden. And there are still her parents, Raksha and Ivan, roaming through Stockholm in their departed daughter’s former world. And there is still the moment of death, which will never end, ever. Because this is what happens. The first time she dies is in the forest at his hands when her heart stops, the second time she dies is when what is left of her is lowered into the ground, the third time will be when someone says her name for the last time on earth. So she is waiting for that to happen. And as much as she wishes the voices still prattling on about her savage earthly fate would hush, she wishes one of her children would say “mom” and mean her.
Sara Stridsberg’s new novel is about absolute vulnerability; about brutality, isolation and a mother’s love. About what is left when everything else has gone. Antarctica of Love is a heartrending existential drama in which the characteristic blend of Stridsberg’s great literary weight and her readability creates an original mix of terror and beauty, longing and black despair. A devastating story of unexpected love, tenderness and light in the total darkness.
“Excellent anti-procedural. Stridsberg’s language bears the unbearable, and provides a soft blanket that leads us into the worst – and beyond.”
“A tender and painful story in beautiful prose. A brilliantly beautiful, mythic and linguistically resonant novel.”
“A story that in Stridsberg’s fabulous craftsmanship becomes both linguistically captivating and thematically hard-hitting. Stridsberg is one of the best Nordic authors.”
“An inescapable novel that shows how amazingly far an author can reach when the concept, language and plot fit like a tailored glove.”
“Tragic, thought-provoking, and full of love.”
"Sara Stridsberg’s Antarctica of Love portrays the deep-frozen life of a vulnerable woman. An amazing and almost unbearably precise novel. One of the reasons to read Stridsberg is that she gives voice to those who never pick themselves up. Another reason is that she is a fantastic writer."
"Antarctica of Love is Stridsberg’s darkest and most powerful novel to date. Here, there is no romanticizing of marginalization, which occasionally flashed by in her previous novels. Here, it’s all intense presence and nerve, up until the moment of death itself."
"Few writers craft such distinct imagery, in such poetic meanderings, with such beauty and precision, as Stridsberg."
"Sara Stridsberg offers a high-intensity read. Antarctica of Love is an utterly brilliant novel."
"A disturbingly beautiful book. [Stridsberg] writes the perhaps most taut and most beautiful prose in Sweden right now."
“A disturbing and crucial read… Sara belongs to the bravest that have written Swedish novels”
Björn Kohlström, Jönköpingsposten
“With suggestive power, Sara Stridsberg undertakes to portrait a human being when she is most vulnerable…All along she balances on the edge of the existential”
Inger Dahlman, Upsala Nya Tidning
"Her story becomes inscribed upon our minds, so rich with poetic expressions and prosaic sentences that it is ultimately difficult to comprehend all the horror, since it is wrapped in such powerful words. … Sara Stridsberg’s The Antarctic of Love is this year’s most poignant book. An important Christmas gift to any woman or man.”
"The book has a linguistic abundance that fires up the reader with energy and the conviction that this novel can be one of the best of the year."
"[A] shattering read from one of Scandinavia’s truly modern storytellers, in prose that appears both more sophisticated and more available than previous works."
"Gives voice to the unseen. ... [A] terrible and beautiful novel with unique moral heft. While reading, I cannot help but think that this novel, at its core, is about how important love in the form of solidarity is to us humans. Without it we are lost."
"Already with her second novel – The Faculty of Dreams, which was awarded the 2007 Nordic Council Literature Prize – Stridsberg proved that she is among the finest authors of contemporary Nordic literature. … With her latest work, Antarctica of Love, Stridsberg has surpassed herself. Antarctica of Love is a novel that one both rejects and cannot resist. It is brutal and oddly full of light, it is wild and violent, but also full of love and tenderness."
"It is such a rare thing to find a book that manages to take you beyond the conceivable, that will get past all the boundaries that safeguard us. Such a book bears witness and you feel blessed as a reader, knowing that you have taken part of something unique that only literature can show us. In this wondrous novel Sara Stridsberg takes us to the very core of our humanity, giving us an unforgettable voice beyond the grave, full of despair and love in equal measure. You realize then that despair and love are like parent and child, forever bound together; they are the very things that make us human."
Daniel Sandström, Literary director Albert Bonniers förlag
Czech rights sold to Albatros Media a.s.
Danish rights sold to Grif
Estonian rights sold to Eesti Raamat
Finnish rights sold to Tammi.
French rights sold to Gallimard
Norwegian rights sold to Aschehoug
Polish Rights sold to Sonia Draga
Spanish rights sold to Nordica Libros
UK rights sold to MacLehose Press
US Rights sold to Farrar, Straus and Giroux