by Pilar Quintana
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Pub Date 07 Feb 2023 | Archive Date 07 Feb 2023
By the Colombian author of The Bitch, a 2020 National Book Award Finalist and PEN Awards Winner
Claudia is an impressionable eight-year-old girl, trying to understand the world through the eyes of the adults around her. But her hardworking father hardly speaks a word, while her unhappy mother spends her days reading celebrity lifestyle magazines, tending to her enormous collection of plants, and filling Claudia’s head with stories about women who end their lives in tragic ways. Then an interloper arrives, disturbing the delicate balance of family life, and Claudia’s world starts falling apart. In this strikingly vivid portrait of Cali, Colombia, Claudia’s acute observations remind us that children are capable of discerning extremely complex realities even if they cannot fully understand them. In Abyss, Quintana leads us brilliantly into the lonely heart of the child we have all once been, driven by fear of abandonment.
Praise for Pilar Quintana
“Pilar Quintana uncovers wounds we didn’t know we had, shows us their beauty, and then throws a handful of salt into them.” —YURI HERRERA, author of Signs Preceding the End of the World
“How can I sum up everything that fascinates me about Pilar Quintana. Her incredible lyricism. Her path against the unexpected. The tension—razor-sharp, poetic and uncompromising.”—SARA MESA
Praise for Abyss
“What are the abysses that a girl, stunned by the mysteries of her family and the world, peers into? Her apartment is a jungle, her home a supermarket, her country a fog-enclosed mountain range obscuring the cliffs. Readers too fall, stunned, into Pilar Quintana’s abyss.” —HÉCTOR ABAD
“Pilar Quintana has created a powerful story that contrasts with the hopeless and doomed atmosphere that surrounds the protagonist. In subtle and brilliant prose, in which nature connects us with the symbolic possibilities of literature, the abysses are both real and intimate.” —JURY, Alfaguara Novel Prize 2021
“In a powerful, unsettling voice, Pilar Quintana explores the fears of childhood alongside the fragility and violence of adults. With lucidity, innocence, suspense and the labyrinths of desire, she draws an unforgettable map of the heartrending road to freedom.” —IRENE VALLEJO
“A voice of strength, one that takes us to the world of a young girl confronting adult reality from a visionary childhood, a truly important voice that resides in each of us and makes this novel so moving. Abyss is Pilar Quintana’s triple jump.” —ANA MERINO
“A work built around small details that can define an entire continent.” —Vogue
- By the Colombian author of The Bitch, a 2020 National Book Award Finalist and PEN Awards Winner
- Lead title of Fall 2022
- Announced first print-run 20,000
- Winner of the Premio Alfaguara 2021
- In Colombia’s upper class, a young girl reflects on her parents’ troubled marriage
- Advance galleys and digital reader copies
- Digital assets including trailer & author video
- Signed book plates available
- National TV, radio, print, and online review campaign
- Consumer-facing national advertising campaign on Shelf Awareness, Lithub, NPR, Foreword Reviews, Goodreads
- Virtual or in-person author events
- Book club discussion guide
- Bookstore co-op available
- Excerpt placement
- Social media campaign & Goodreads Giveaway
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 33 members
A tale of twisted fates and intertwined family histories, told through the eyes of a child. Suffocating in the heat, throat stuffed with flower blossoms, this book really sucked me in from page one.
An outstanding book.
I was lucky enough to get this as an advanced copy from NetGalley.
It is the story of Claudia and her family told through the eyes of the child, Claudia. The story on the surface is that of a little girl trying to understand a world in which her mother seems to swing between caring and unfeeling within a matter of minutes.
However this book gives insight into depression, anxiety and suicide and its impact on a young girl. The voice of Claudia is compelling and utterly believable. Her struggle to comprehend her mother's withdrawal into depression and her father's ignorance at how bad things are is enough to make you want to reach through the pages and bang the parents heads together.
I honestly can't give this book enough praise. I could barely put it down but then I was fearful of what I might read next. It is certainly disturbing.
Throughout is the theme of the abyss which starts out as the view from the first floor balcony of her mother's plant infested living room. It becomes the block of flats that her mother's best friend lives in and on to the precipitous valley below the country retreat the family go to after a crisis occurs.
There's so much more to this book than in this review but if I went on you'd basically have the book.
Very very highly recommended.
This novella is a good read telling a story in a subtle way through the voiceof a child. One says the truth comes out of children's voice. This is true. If the mother had listened to her daughter, been receptive to her as to her own depression, her own reactions as a powerless woman in society and country, the story told would have a completely different tone....
I received a complimentary ARC of this novella from NetGalley and I am leaving voluntarily a review.
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