The young, gay narrator of Permafrost is directionless, unmotivated, self-absorbed---surprisingly, however, that mix delivers a sharp, revitalizing shock to the system that compelled me to the end. Each short chapter is brilliantly translated by Julia Sanches in a way that makes Baltasar's background in poetry ring clearly. Reading this, I felt shades of The Bell Jar in the narrative, of Bluets in its profundity, and Bartleby the Scrivener in its bold spirit.— Luis
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 color 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.