Sunday October 3, at 7:00pm EST: MADNESS AND SOCIETY
What forces—both internal and external—cause a mind to dangerously fray and unravel? For the groundbreaking scientists in Chilean author Benjamin Labatut’s When We Cease to Understand the World, knowledge comes at a high cost. In Brazilian writer Beatriz Bracher’s Antonio, meanwhile, social constraints and family secrets combine to doom an idealistic, wayward son to madness; and in Catalan poet Eva Baltasar’s debut novel, Permafrost, a fiercely independent woman’s search for personal freedom nearly drives her over the edge. Moderated by author and translator Adrian Nathan West.
Eva Baltasar has published ten volumes of poetry to widespread acclaim. Her debut novel, Permafrost, received the 2018 Premi Llibreter from Catalan booksellers and was shortlisted for France's 2020 Prix Médicis for Best Foreign Novel. It is the first novel in a triptych in which Baltasar aims to explore the universes of three different women in the first person. The author lives a simple life with her wife and two daughters in a village near the mountains.
Permafrost, translated from the Catalan by Julia Sanches, was published by And Other Stories. 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.