Wednesday, 19 January 2011

four.

Cold Skin by Albert Sánchez Piñol (2002)


"We are never far from those we hate. For this very reason, we shall never be truly close to those we love. An appalling fact, I knew it well enough when I embarked. But some truths deserve our attention; others are best left alone"
A young man has taken up a post as the sole weather observer on a remote island close to Antarctica. When the ship arrives on the island, they can't find the man's predecessor, but find a lunatic man, Gruner, in the light house, the other building on the small island. The young man is looking forward to a year in solitude. But then the night falls on the first day and the reptile-like humanoid monsters arrive from the sea and the survival instinct takes over.

The young nameless man (I can't decide if he is a hero or not) quickly realises that he won't survive outside the lighthouse, and after a lot of struggle, Gruner finally lets him in and they coexist with little talk and the nightly struggle against the monsters. Gruner also holds one female monster as a slave, even having sex with it. The monsters are erratic in their attacks, but they seem to multiply in numbers each night.

The story is very gloomy, the only hope they have is to survive until the boat returns in a year, but they are running out of bullets and the monsters are getting cleverer and cleverer. And the men are getting more insane by the day.

But the book is really exciting, I read the 230 pages in a few hours because there is no boring moment in the book and I just had to know if they survived. I have already started on the sequel, Pandora in the Congo, and is really curious about what the link between the books is.

"February 25
They have finally appeared, and in great numbers. Our daily ration of ammunition is six bullets and we were forced to fire eight."

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