ARRAY(0xb3ca95b8)
 
Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing concept poorly delivered, 28 Mar 2013
By 
This review is from: Cold Skin (Paperback)
Originally published in Catalan in 2002, Pinol's first novel has been translated by Cheryl Leah Morgan and published in 2007.

It begins with the un-named narrator being put ashore on a small Antarctic island to take over from the sole weather official for a period of 12 months. Unsurprisingly, the man is nowhere to be found; instead there is a bear of a man, the Austrian, Gruner, living in the island's lighthouse. At night, the narrator discovers countless humanoid beings, cold-skinned and blue-blooded, coming from the sea with a distinctly unpleasant objective in mind.

As the lighthouse is the only safe place on the island, the narrator joins Gruner to repel the attacks which are getting fiercer and fiercer. Gruner has captured one of the beings who acts as his slave and concubine. Pinol's novella takes on the characteristics of a diary describing the nightly attacks, the schemes which the two men adopt to repulse the monsters, their improving relationship and cooperation which is based on mutual security and the narrator's increasing need to share Gruner's bedmate, who is eventually given the name, Aneris.

An offshore wreck carrying explosives and a convenient diving suit enable the two men to significantly increase their slaughter of the monsters, now named Sitaucas, before the narrator, belatedly, comes to believe that perhaps the real monsters are the two in the lighthouse with the remington rifles and the explosives. He sends signals of a truce and comparative peace breaks out when young monsters rather than fully-fledged elders colonise the island.

However, the relationship between the two men breaks down totally and they are once again besieged with their ammunition running low. Unfortunately, Pinol is unable to maintain the tension and there are only so many times that the arrival of the monsters from the sea, their attack on the lighthouse, the successful repulse and their retreat back into the sea can be repeated without interest beginning to flag.

Increasingly, the monsters (individually and collectively) and the island itself become stronger characters that the two men. In particular, there is little or no exploration of Gruner's character or of his relationship with Aneris. After the first quarter of the novel we know all the salient details of the plot. Now the author can begin to layer the battle between man and monster, compare the oafish Gruber and the more refined and humane narrator, and explore of the differences in their relationships with Aneris and of hers with the Sitaucas.... except that the author does not pursue any of these.

The book falls between a straightforward story of fearful monsters emerging from the sea with malice in their incredibly small brains and a deeper consideration of man's slaughter of other species, men's treatment of women and the rationality of our narrator, the traditional Everyman, set against the animal-like behaviour of Gruner, who is solely concerned to satisfy his physical needs.


It is possible that Pinol's original text was much tighter and emotionally-challenging and that many of the longueurs have been introduced by the translation. I am unable to make this judgement. However, the end result is that the story is inflated, padded with repetition and, by the end of the week, likely to be entirely forgotten.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

3.6 out of 5 stars (15 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (5)
4 star:
 (4)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
9.99 6.99
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer

Dr R
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

Location: Norwich, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 745