Boulder by Eva Baltasar

Check the official website of the Booker International Prize 2023 for background information on Baltasar’s novel. To read interviews with longlist writers, check here.

New York Times Review


Times Literary Supplement

Wikipedia – Biography

Lattin Magazine – Interview

Guardian Review of Permafrost

Barcelona Metropolis – Profile

Boulder reveals herself in a novel in a way that she would never reveal herself in life. In life, she is a boulder, a rock that resists any penetration of the world beyond self. In Eva Baltasar’s novel, however, she reveals herself as the constant victim of the physical world. She is as fragile as the uncooked meat she cuts for the cooking pot. A first-person narrator, this protagonist freely chronicles her responses to the physical world as it attempts to mold her, to restrict her freedom. The artistry of the novel lies in the ability of the writer to depict this duality, to realize the inner and the outer character at the same time for the reader.

Boulder’s life with Samsa is a contrast in character. Boulder and Samsa are E. M. Forster’s two types of characters outlined in his classic Aspects of the Novel. Boulder is the flat character that shows very little change throughout the novel. Samsa, on the other hand, is Forster’s round character, whose complicated changes are foil to Boulder. The tension of the novel is realized as Boulder’s stasis is challenged by Samsa dynamic desire for her own child. This obsession characterizes her complicated personality and confounds Boulder wish for all things to remain the same.

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