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Antarctica of Love

Translated into English by Deborah Bragan-Turner

LONGLISTED for the International Booker Prize 2019
LONGLISTED for the Dublin Award 2023
LONGLISTED for the National Translation Award in Prose 2023

They say you die three times.

The first time for me was when my heart stopped beating beneath his hands by the lake. 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 will be the last time my name is spoken on earth.

Inni lives her life on the margins, but it is a life that is full and complex, filled with different shades of dark and light… Until she is brutally murdered one summer’s day, on a lake shore at the heart of a distant, rain-washed forest. On the surface, this is the story of the moment her life is violently extinguished – a moment that will never end, not ever – but it is also about the time before, and about the lives that carry on afterwards. It’s about her children, her parents, her childhood of neglect, her volatile adolescence, and the chain of choices, tragedies and accidents that lead her to a life on the streets and take her into the wrong crowd, the wrong places and, finally, the wrong car with the wrong person.

Sara Stridsberg’s new novel is about absolute vulnerability, brutality and isolation. At times disturbing, this is a devastating story of unexpected love, tenderness and light in the total darkness.


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 awestruck -- Kate Reed Petty ― author of TRUE STORYAn elegy to the murdered woman's life, from her point of view . . . [Stridsberg] writes with chilling poise ― New York Times


A stunning book which paints the portrait of a broken life with honesty and compassion ― Kirkus Reviews (starred)A ruminative, heartrending novel ― Publishers WeeklyStridsberg offers a compassionate and complex portrait of a woman damaged by her past, and of those left behind to mourn her death ― Financial TimesExcellent . . . Linguistically and structurally beautiful, The Antarctica of Love is a an exploration of our place in the world, how fleetingly we occupy it, and how much of a trace we leave ― Translating Women


An interesting experiment in narrative and emotional detachment ― Irish TimesA deeply moving portrait of a life cut short, free of judgement but rich in insight and compassion . . . Stridsberg's novel is brave, and it couldn't be more relevant ― European Literature NetworkA disturbingly beautiful book. Stridsberg writes perhaps the most taut and most beautiful prose in Sweden right now ― ExpressenAlready 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, The Antarctica of Love, Stridsberg has surpassed herself. The 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. ― AftenpostenFew writers craft such distinct imagery, in such poetic meanderings, with such beauty and precision, as Stridsberg ― Svenska DagbladetThe Antarctica of Love is an utterly brilliant novel ― Skånska DagbladetHer 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 ― LitteraturMagazinetThe Antarctica of Love is Stridsberg's darkest and most powerful novel to date. Here, there is no romanticizing of marginalization ... Here, it's all intense presence and nerve, up until the moment of death itself ― SVT KulturnyheterA shattering read from one of Scandinavia's truly modern storytellers, in prose that appears both more sophisticated and more accessible than previous works ― Klassekampen (Norway)An amazing and almost unbearably precise novel ― Dagens Nyheter (Denmark)Stridsberg's language bears the unbearable, and provides a soft blanket that leads us into the worst - and beyond ― Politiken (Denmark)

Publisher: Bonniers
Territories: Czech Republic: Albatros Media; Denmark: Grif; Estonia: Eesti Raamat; Finland: Tammi; France: Gallimard; Norway: Aschehoug; Poland: Sonia Draga; Spain: Nordica Libros; UK: MacLehose Press; US: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Film/TV: Anagram.
Other Sara Stridsberg Titles