‘Neither the old man nor Boga ever said more than was needed. And yet they understood each other perfectly.’
Over the course of a season, Boga and the old man work side by side on the sandbanks of the Paraná Delta, cutting reeds to sell to local basketweavers. But when the old man falls sick and dies, Boga abandons himself entirely to the river and the life of solitary drifting he has long yearned for.
Echoes of John Berger sound throughout the evocative prose of this great Argentinian writer. A twentieth-century classic, Southeaster is a central work in Haroldo Conti’s oeuvre.
Praise for Southeaster
- ‘Haroldo is a river, a delta with many streams that embrace the islands as they pass. His literature is directed at the solitude of others, and it brings a warm embrace, in the same way the river does.’ Eduardo Galeano
- ‘The economy of his writing, impregnated with poetry and tenderness, is remarkable… Don’t be fooled by the story’s initial, quasi-bucolic, calm. A dramatic crescendo leads to the final roar.’ María Esther de Miguel, La Nación
- ‘What a surprise and a treat. I was swept up in the great murky flow of it. Conti is a writer for whom place is character, not backdrop, and what a place, what a character. He’s a revelation.’ Tim Winton
- ‘Readers in English can at last immerse themselves in the subtle, beautifully wrought journey of the voyager… Southeaster is one of the most original contributions to what Conti himself would term, in an interview in 1974, “a stylistically and imaginatively Argentine literature”.’ Professor John King, School of Comparative American Studies, University of Warwick
- ‘Conti’s work occurs at the point where landscape and human psychology meet and there’s a soulfulness to his writing that I find deeply touching and nourishing. One of the best books published this year.’ Foyle’s Staff Picks
- ‘Southeaster is a meandering, estuarine version of a road novel, a watery Hemingway-meets-Camus tale of a loner exposed to the elements and in wordless search for some kind of purpose… sensuous and meticulously observed… a luminous and troubling South American classic.’ Melissa Harrison, Financial Time
- ‘With his plain but indefatigably inventive descriptions, Conti conveys how “the river always changes”… In long winding sentences full of alternately subordinating clauses, Conti slackens the narrative to match the river’s pace… but Conti also knows how to make time buckle, and the last fifty pages… are exhilarating.’ Sophie Hughes, Times Literary Supplement
- ‘Southeaster is a particularly rich evocation of interiority… organising a chaos of memories, observations, thoughts, and feelings into meaningfulness.’ Jessica Sequeira, Boston Review
- ‘Despite the obvious romance of the delta, of Conti’s strange, distorting setting, this is not a novel which romanticizes the lives of those who live in it. It leaves the reader with a savage beauty to contemplate, something contradictory, tense, and ultimately self-destructive in a way that seems to correspond with so much of Argentina’s recent history.’ 3am Magazine
- ‘Conti’s frequent change of tense and the rhythm of his translated prose echo the ever-changing nature of the water itself… a beautifully written story.’ We Love This Book
- ‘In this novel . . . man and nature coexist on every page, but the relationship is fathoms-deep and the indifference of the natural world strikes the loudest chord. There is no heavy-handed philosophising here, just gentle meditations and some wonderful writing . . . Special praise goes to Jon Lindsay Miles for his splendid translation.’ Jon Wright, Geographical Magazine
- ‘The description of the waters and their changing moods elevate the river to a character in its own right.’ Workshy Fop
- Read more about Haroldo Conti in our authors section.
- Southeaster was first published in English translation by Jon Lindsay Miles’ Immigrant Press (in Spain) under the title South-East after he discovered the (Spanish-language) book on a library bookshelf. And Other Stories’ 2015 edition of his translation is the first edition published in the UK and North America.
- Jon Lindsay Miles writes about his experience translating Southeaster for Bookanista. You can read it here.
- If you had subscribed to And Other Stories before Southeaster went to the printers, you would have received the first edition of the book – in which all subscribers are thanked by name – before its official publication, as well us up to five other And Other Stories titles per year. Find out about subscribing to upcoming titles here.