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The Antarctica of Love: A Novel (Hardcover)
The international star Sara Stridsberg returns with The Antarctica of Love, an unnamed woman's tale of her murder, her brief life, and the world that moves on after she left it
They say you die three times. The first time for me was when my heart stopped beating beneath his hands by the lake, and the second was when what was left of me was lowered into the ground in front of Ivan and Raksha at Bromma Church. The third time will be the last time my name is spoken on earth.
She was a neglected child, an unreliable mother, a sex worker, a drug user—and then, like so many, a nameless victim of a violent crime. But first she was a human being, a full, complicated person, and she insists that we know her fully as she tells her story from beyond the grave. We witness her short life, the harrowing murder that ended it, and her grief over the loved ones she has left behind. We see her parents struggle with guilt and loss. We watch her children grow up in adopted families and patch together imperfect lives. We feel her dreams, fears, and passions. And still we will never know her name.
A heartrending novel of life after death, Sara Stridsberg’s The Antarctica of Love is an unflinching testament of a woman on the margins, a tale of family lost and found, a report of a murder in the voice of the victim, and a story that brims with unexpected tenderness and hope.
About the Author
Sara Stridsberg is an internationally acclaimed writer and playwright whose work has been translated into more than twenty-five languages. A former member of the Swedish Academy, she is a leading feminist and artist in her native Sweden and around the world. Her novel Valerie: or, The Faculty of Dreams received the Nordic Council Literature Prize and was longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize.
Deborah Bragan-Turner is a translator of Swedish literature and a former bookseller and academic librarian. She studied Scandinavian languages at University College London, and her translations include works by Per Olov Enquist and Anne Swärd.
A Financial Times Best Book of the Year
“Beautifully told . . . [Stridsberg] writes with chilling poise.”
—Antonia Hitchens, The New York Times Book Review
“Echo[es] with longing, loss, unutterable sorrow, and yet also a species of joy and light . . . A stunning book which paints the portrait of a broken life with honesty and compassion.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A compassionate and complex portrait of a woman damaged by her past, and of those left behind to mourn her death.”
—Ángel Gurría-Quintana, Financial Times
“Evocative . . . A powerful story that ripples through time and across generations and social divides . . . [told] with extraordinary empathy and insight.”
—Dwyer Murphy, Crimereads
“Ruminative, heartrending . . . Readers will be moved by the dead narrator’s white-knuckled grip on life.”
“There is an unsettling sense of justice in the novel’s insistent focus on the life of a forgotten victim.”
—Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal
“The Antarctica of Love is a shocking and beautiful subversion of the ‘dead girl’ trope. With fierce dignity, the narrator in this elegiac novel refuses to be reduced to murder victim/sex worker/addict; she is a poet, philosopher, and author of her own life story in this haunting portrait of the starkest meanings of love and family. Stridsberg’s literary talent left me awe-struck.”
—Kate Reed Petty, author of True Story
“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.”
—Dagens Nyheter (Sweden)
“This novel, at its core, is about how important love in the form of solidarity is to us humans. Without it we are lost.”
—Vårt Land (Norway)
“[A] shattering read from one of Scandinavia’s truly modern storytellers.”
Praise for Sara Stridsberg
“Valerie is one of the most genuinely insubordinate books I have read, and one of the most beautiful.”
—Katy Waldman, The New Yorker
“As a critic, it is hard for me to find the words to describe Stridsberg’s prose. How can I make you understand, dear reader, how fantastically darkness and light completely merge in her writing . . . I cannot describe it, you have to experience it yourself, it is pure bliss.”
“[Valerie offers] the thrilling spectacle, the muscles and bone, of a vibrant, living text . . . and unleashes an irresistible seduction.”
—Le Monde (France)
“[Valerie is] a morbid and seductive exercise in empathy . . . with brutal, stark passages whose obscenity reads like poison down the throat . . . [Stridsberg creates] a literary delirium as extravagant as it is unconventional.”
—El País (Spain)