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.