Cold Skin

by Albert Sanchez Pinol

This is a book of contrasts, the disparity of which made me very unsettled as I read. I found it at once disturbing, thrilling, philosophic and tender. The story – a young man on a remote Antarctic island faces relentless nocturnal attacks by countless amphibious, reptilian monsters – is straight from a 1950s B-movie, but the literal monsters aren’t the only ones he is battling and therein lies a much deeper, thoughtful, literary read.


They bounded and squatted, came together and split apart, recoiling as they tried to reach the windows. Monsters, monsters and more monsters. Here. over there, there and here. I went from one window to another. I fired blind, one, two, three and four shots, swearing like a Berber against Rome as I reloaded. Shooting and reloading for hours on end, or maybe it was just a few minutes, I don't know.
The bonfires began to die down. I saw that the fire protected my morale more than anything else. But they had vanished.
Translated by Cheryl Leah Morgan


The Plague by Albert Camus
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