The Year of Spitzberg

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Typographic rustic ISBN: 9788496428287

SKU: 9788499530789 Category: Tags: ,

The Year of Spitzberg by Pedro Antonio de Alarcón is an exceptional story of horror and death that takes place in frozen landscapes of Norway. It is a novel that narrates in an agonizing way what it means to be alone for a year in a deserted place as punishment for a crime committed.
Spitzberg is the name of an island on which no human being survives. The protagonist, condemned to death and abandoned there, must pay for the crime of which he is accused. His experience is narrated in the first person. This reflects the existential anguish and deep love of life that confronts him with a terrible and inhospitable nature.

I
I am watching the whaling ship disappear towards midday and leaves me abandoned on this desert island, on the sand of an unnamed beach.
Here I am alone; only in an area of a thousand leagues!
I loved a woman… The demon of jealousy bit my heart, and I killed my rival in defiance… He was a prince!
And the Russian Government has condemned me to spend a year here…; that is, he has condemned me to death.
Ah! Why didn’t he hand me over to the executioner’s axe? Why make me expire from cold, hunger, sadness, despair, or disputing my body to the terrible white bear, if my crime was but one?

Spitzberg… I am in the terrible archipelago that no race has been able to inhabit! I am at 77 degrees north latitude, two hundred and sixty leagues from the Pole!
I think I have heard my murderers say that this island is the Northeast, the southernmost of the horrific group, the most temperate of all… that will prolong my agony for a few hours!
I do not know in which of these icebergs of eternal ice Russia has a colony for fur and whale fishing; but what I do know is that the settlers would migrate to Lapland at the end of August, two months ago, and will not return until spring… two hundred and forty days from now!
So I am alone, without a home, without shelter, without food, without consolation!
Die! Here is my inevitable and next fate.
Today is October 17th… The cold advances through the North… In a few days I will freeze, hopelessly.
In the meantime I will feed myself with hunting. Even those cruel ones have left me a shotgun… “In case I wanted to kill myself like this.” I will kill rengíferos, suck ice and procure a shelter among those rocks. Englishman Parry inhabited snow huts in North America at 73 degrees. Ah! Yes….; but I am four degrees closer to the Pole, and I have no fire to warm me!
Die! Die! Here is my infallible destiny!

Fragment of the work

Reference edition: Madrid, Ediciones Fax, 1943.

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