antarctica starts here
(la antártica empieza aquí)
This was Benjamín Labatut’s debut book: a short story collection that immediately put him on the map. The characters depict here walk the line of insanity: there’s the rookie journalist who risks his career tracking the footprints of a group of Chilean soldiers, lost during a suicide mission in an ice field in Antarctica; there’s a young woman who tries to escape her body, deformed by a strange skin disease; and there’s the jazz prodigy who is able to predict earthquakes from his deathbed. All the characters in this book are haunted by madness, but there’s the sensation that what’s really bothering them (and us all) is the fear of being too lucid.
"Every short story in Antarctica Starts Here offers numerous connections between events and characters but always leaves them partially in the shadow, giving an idea of enormity, of great resonance and many implications, even for the most trivial events."
— Jury of the Caza de Letras Award
“Hardly ever comes the time when as a book reviewer one can predict, with absolute certainty, a promising future author as soon as he publishes his first book of short stories. Besides disturbind the reader, and conveying memorable images, Labatut pushes the reader to acquire a healthy sense of anxiety.”
— Juan Manuel Vial, La Tercera