The co-op bookstore for avid readers
Book Cover for: Boulder: Shortlisted for the 2023 International Booker Prize, Eva Baltasar

Boulder: Shortlisted for the 2023 International Booker Prize

Eva Baltasar

Reader Score


77% of readers

recommend this book

Critic Reviews


Based on 3 reviews on

BookMarks logo
Longlist:Brooklyn Public Library Book Prize -Fiction (2023)
Finalist:International Booker Prize -Novel (2023)

Working as a cook on a merchant ship, a woman comes to know and love Samsa, a woman who gives her the nickname "Boulder." When Samsa gets a job in Reykjavik and the couple decides to move there together, Samsa decides that she wants to have a child. She is already forty and can't bear to let the opportunity pass her by. Boulder is less enthused, but doesn't know how to say no--and so finds herself dragged along on a journey that feels as thankless as it is alien.

With motherhood changing Samsa into a stranger, Boulder must decide where her priorities lie, and whether her yearning for freedom can truly trump her yearning for love.

Once again, Eva Baltasar demonstrates her preeminence as a chronicler of queer voices navigating a hostile world--and in prose as brittle and beautiful as an ancient saga.

Book Details

  • Publisher: And Other Stories
  • Publish Date: Aug 2nd, 2022
  • Pages: 112
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 7.70in - 5.00in - 0.50in - 0.30lb
  • EAN: 9781913505387
  • Categories: World Literature - Spain - GeneralLiteraryWomen

About the Author

Already an acclaimed poet, with ten volumes of poetry to her name, Eva Baltasar's debut novel Permafrost received the 2018 Premi Llibreter from Catalan booksellers, was an Indie Next choice from American booksellers, and was shortlisted for France's 2020 Prix Médicis for Best Foreign Book. Boulder won the prestigious Omnium Prize for the Best Catalan Novel of 2020. The author lives a simple life with her wife and two daughters in a Catalonian village near the mountains.

Julia Sanches translates from Portuguese, Spanish, and Catalan. Among her translations are Slash and Burn by Claudia Hernández, for which she won a PEN/Heim award, as well as works by Noemi Jaffe, Daniel Galera, and Geovani Martins. She is a founding member of the Cedilla & Co. translators' collective, and lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

Critics’ reviews

Praise for this book

"Boulder is a sensuous, sexy, intense
book. Baltasar condenses the sensations and experiences of a dozen more
ordinary novels into just over one hundred pages of exhilarating prose. An
incisive story of queer love and motherhood that slices open the dilemmas of
exchanging independence for intimacy." --International Booker Prize judging

"Through such intricate writing, in Julia Sanches's voraciously readable translation, the author
deftly manages to elevate the idea of a relationship to a force of nature, with
the character of Boulder representing the struggle to reconcile a desire to be
alone with a desire for company." --Times Literary Supplement

"Amid sexual trysts and growing tensions,
Boulder searches for the mysterious sweet spot between her wants: freedom and
connection. Baltasar has an innate talent for
stretching the complexities of queer lives and predicaments into undulating
adventure and tension." --The Face

"In barely 100
pages, Catalan author and acclaimed poet Eva Baltasar
has crafted a gem of a novella: sharp-edged, uncompromising and utterly
compelling ... Boulder is for everyone: a hard-hitting, incisive triumph." --New

language of desire never stops vibrating off the page; Baltasar pans the mundane
for gold, and offers those nuggets--these morsels of intimacy--in a way that
grips and sates." --New York Times Book Review

Baltasar's Boulder deftly demonstrates fiction's ability to
elide the passage of time. . . . a thoroughly compelling work." --Words Without Borders Watchlist

"[T]his slim, visceral novel power gains power
from its subversive blurring of maternal intuition and its queering of
parenthood." --Publisher's Weekly

book is a modern love story--global, queer, existential in its moral hierarchies--but
it is also a rumination on those two most ancient of words: lover and mother.
A novel that lionizes the desire to be alone even as it recognizes the beauty
and grace found within a family." --Kirkus
Starred Review

"Exquisite, dark and
unconventional, Eva Baltasar turns intimacy into a wild adventure." --Fernanda

"Boulder's action spans more than eight years, but the reader never feels the passage of that time . . . Everything here has an air of immediacy, yet at the same time one has the feeling that there are abysses yawning between every short sentence, ellipses that expand and beg to be filled in by the reader's own imagination. Boulder is a work of incandescent, volcanic brevity and density." --Nuvol

"Opposed to all family ties, and jealous of her partner's child, our narrator refuses to resign herself to her new role of secondary character in her own story, and lashes out by drinking and engaging in clandestine sex with other women, much as would a character in a Charles Bukowski story (an author with whom Baltasar shares more than one stylistic affinity). With Boulder, Eva Baltasar goes beyond Permafrost, to the point that, as with Gillian Flynn's antiheroines, or the anti-superheroine Jessica Jones, the new femininity evokes the old masculinity." --El Periódico

"Eva Baltasar amazed me last year [with Permafrost], and my conversion has been now been completed." --Libros y Literatura

"In her second novel, Baltasar continues to work on her approach to the body, seen as the very substance of storytelling. Around bodies, considered both as sexual objects and as the medium through which our feelings must be expressed, she is building anew a language by which human beings may, in our era, be able to approach one another." --Zenda libros

"Baltasar returns with the same expressiveness and lyricism as in Permafrost, but with a new complexity in her characters, addressing such vital issues such as motherhood and our increasing inability to communicate with one another--an epidemic in our era." --Valencia Plaza

Bookseller praise

"Again it manages to be incredibly powerful
and pack so much punch into such a slim volume. Absolutely wonderful." --David Coates,
Blackwells Manchester

"If you like lyrical slice-of-life prose
and a melancholic look at relationships, I cannot recommend Boulder enough!" --Red
Newsom, Blackwells Manchester

"So, Boulder is going straight to
the pile of my favourite books of 2022." --Giulia Lenti, Foyles CXR

"God, I love Eva Baltasar's writing. Boulder
is another masterpiece from one of Europe's most radical queer writers. I
continue to be a Julia Sanches stan." --Gary Perry, Foyles CXR

"This is a tender, unflinchingly honest
examination of a woman's desires as she grapples with the challenges and
obligations of partnership and motherhood, juxtaposed against her longing for
personal freedom. It's clear that Baltasar is first and foremost a poet - every
sentence is fluid and beautifully crafted (and impressively translated by Julia
Sanches), to create a gorgeously sensuous and evocative reading experience." --Nichole
Gadras, Mr Bs

Praise for Permafrost

"Unconventional and refreshing ... utterly unforgettable" --New York Times

"In one sentence, Baltasar and translator Julia Sanches summon not only a literal instance of sex involving food play, not only sex between women in the abstract, but the joyful eroticism of words and reading ... queerness can be a salvation. Permafrost shows this beautifully." --The Guardian

"Quickly, Baltasar's narrator renders the world and herself within it in acute and savage terms . . . Baltasar is in incredible hands with Sanches, who hits each unexpected beat with deft clarity and concision . . . Definitively and rapidly, Permafrost takes readers the entire way." --Los Angeles Review of Books