Eva Baltasar


Shortlisted for the 2023 International Booker Prize

Working as a cook on a merchant ship, a woman comes to know and love Samsa, a woman who gives her the nickname ‘Boulder’. When Samsa gets a job in Reykjavik and the couple decides to move there together, Samsa decides that she wants to have a child. She is already forty and can’t bear to let the opportunity pass her by. Boulder is less enthused, but doesn’t know how to say no – and so finds herself dragged along on a journey that feels as thankless as it is alien.

With motherhood changing Samsa into a stranger, Boulder must decide where her priorities lie, and whether her yearning for freedom can truly trump her yearning for love.

Once again, Eva Baltasar demonstrates her pre-eminence as a chronicler of queer voices navigating a hostile world – and in prose as brittle and beautiful as an ancient saga.

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The International Booker Prize judging panel had this to say about Boulder:

Boulder is a sensuous, sexy, intense book. Baltasar condenses the sensations and experiences of a dozen more ordinary novels into just over one hundred pages of exhilarating prose. An incisive story of queer love and motherhood that slices open the dilemmas of exchanging independence for intimacy.’

You can read the New York Times Book Review‘s review of Boulder here.

You can read Patrick Graney’s TLS review of Boulder here.

Eva Baltasar in conversation with Irene Solà (trans. Mara Faye Lethem), part of Granta‘s ‘In Conversation’ series, is available to read here.

Author: Eva Baltasar
Translator: Julia Sanches
Original language: Catalan
Publication date: 2 August 2022
ISBN: 9781913505387
Ebook ISBN: 9781913505394


International Booker Prize judging panel

Boulder is a sensuous, sexy, intense book. Baltasar condenses the sensations and experiences of a dozen more ordinary novels into just over one hundred pages of exhilarating prose. An incisive story of queer love and motherhood that slices open the dilemmas of exchanging independence for intimacy.’

New Internationalist

‘In barely 100 pages, Catalan author and acclaimed poet Eva Baltasar has crafted a gem of a novella: sharp-edged, uncompromising and utterly compelling … Boulder is for everyone: a hard-hitting, incisive triumph.’

Times Literary Supplement

‘Through such intricate writing, in Julia Sanches’s voraciously readable translation, the author deftly manages to elevate the idea of a relationship to a force of nature, with the character of Boulder representing the struggle to reconcile a desire to be alone with a desire for company.’  

The Face

‘Amid sexual trysts and growing tensions, Boulder searches for the mysterious sweet spot between her wants: freedom and connection. Baltasar has an innate talent for stretching the complexities of queer lives and predicaments into undulating adventure and tension.’

New York Times Book Review

‘The language of desire never stops vibrating off the page; Baltasar pans the mundane for gold, and offers those nuggets – these morsels of intimacy – in a way that grips and sates.’

Words Without Borders

‘Eva Baltasar’s Boulder deftly demonstrates fiction’s ability to elide the passage of time. . . . a thoroughly compelling work.’

Publisher’s Weekly

‘This slim, visceral novel power gains power from its subversive blurring of maternal intuition and its queering of parenthood.’

Kirkus Reviews, starred review

The book is a modern love story – global, queer, existential in its moral hierarchies – but it is also a rumination on those two most ancient of words: lover and mother. A novel that lionizes the desire to be alone even as it recognises the beauty and grace found within a family.’

Fernanda Melchor

‘Exquisite, dark and unconventional, Eva Baltasar turns intimacy into a wild adventure.’

Valencia Plaza

‘Baltasar returns with the same expressiveness and lyricism as in Permafrost, but with a new complexity in her characters, addressing such vital issues such as motherhood and our increasing inability to communicate with one another – an epidemic in our era.’

Zenda libros

‘In her second novel, Baltasar continues to work on her approach to the body, seen as the very substance of storytelling. Around bodies, considered both as sexual objects and as the medium through which our feelings must be expressed, she is building anew a language by which human beings may, in our era, be able to approach one another.’

Booksellers love Boulder

‘Again it manages to be incredibly powerful and pack so much punch into such a slim volume. Absolutely wonderful.’ David Coates, Blackwells Manchester

‘If you like lyrical slice-of-life prose and a melancholic look at relationships, I cannot recommend Boulder enough!’ Red Newsom, Blackwells Manchester

‘So, Boulder is going straight to the pile of my favourite books of 2022 ’ Giulia Lenti, Foyles CXR

‘God, I love Eva Baltasar’s writing. Boulder is another masterpiece from one of Europe’s most radical queer writers. I continue to be a Julia Sanches stan.’ Gary Perry, Foyles CXR

‘This is a tender, unflinchingly honest examination of a woman’s desires as she grapples with the challenges and obligations of partnership and motherhood, juxtaposed against her longing for personal freedom. It’s clear that Baltasar is first and foremost a poet – every sentence is fluid and beautifully crafted (and impressively translated by Julia Sanches), to create a gorgeously sensuous and evocative reading experience.’ Nichole Gadras, Mr Bs

Libros y Literatura

‘Eva Baltasar amazed me last year [with Permafrost], and my conversion has been now been completed.’

El Periódico

‘Opposed to all family ties, and jealous of her partner’s child, our narrator refuses to resign herself to her new role of secondary character in her own story, and lashes out by drinking and engaging in clandestine sex with other women, much as would a character in a Charles Bukowski story (an author with whom Baltasar shares more than one stylistic affinity). With Boulder, Eva Baltasar goes beyond Permafrost, to the point that, as with Gillian Flynn's antiheroines, or the anti-superheroine Jessica Jones, the new femininity evokes the old masculinity.’


‘Boulder’s action spans more than eight years, but the reader never feels the passage of that time . . . Everything here has an air of immediacy, yet at the same time one has the feeling that there are abysses yawning between every short sentence, ellipses that expand and beg to be filled in by the reader’s own imagination. Boulder is a work of incandescent, volcanic brevity and density.’