Antipodes Stories

Ignacio Padilla; Translated by Alastair Reid




Trade Paperback

144 Pages


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From the author of the critically acclaimed novel Shadow Without a Name comes Antipodes, a stunning volume of fictions that evoke the work of Jorge Luis Borges and Italo Calvino. Here are twelve short stories that effortlessly move across time, place, and culture, from the Gobi Desert to the heights of Mount Everest and the jungles of Java.

In "The Antipodes and the Century," a great Scottish engineer, left to die in the middle of the desert, is rescued by a tribe of nomads and inspires them to build an exact replica of the city of Edinburgh in the dunes; "Ever Wrest: Log of the Journey" is the tale of a dying cross-dressing pilot who allegedly climbs Mount Everest and then mysteriously disappears; "Hagiography of the Apostate" tells of a monk who conjures the devil in an effort to prove the devil's existence; and in "A Bestiary," the line between the spectators and the creatures on display becomes alarmingly blurred.

Interweaving history and legend with dazzling ingenuity, Antipodes confirms Ignacio Padilla's reputation as one of our inventive contemporary writers. The result is a work that delights and terrifies as it entrances.


Praise for Antipodes

"Mixing memory, imagination and inspired lunacy in ways that sometimes recall Borges, the Mexican writer Ignacio Padilla's fine new collection of stories, his first to be published in English, tells of men dancing on edges, falling off and occasionally climbing back only to tumble down again . . . In this silky translation by Alastair Reid, Padilla—he is also the author of Shadow Without a Name, a novel—traverses his own edge, on the ramparts of the absurd where the old rules don't apply."—James Polk, The New York Times Book Review

"Told with irony and zest . . . All seeming antipodes—whether in tone or the plot details—are right at home and perfectly natural in Padilla's realm, making for a rich, complex texture against which he weaves his spell."—Los Angeles Times

"Definitely cosmopolitan . . . Padilla is a potent voice in Latin American literature today."—The Miami Herald

"An elegant translation of a disquieting book of short stories. Despite its length, it manages, in twelve stories, to takes us to locales ranging from the Gobi desert to Mount Everest to the jungles of Java. These imaginary leaps across geographies, characters and cultures make for a reading experience that is both thrilling and unsettling. Reminiscent of the great Latin-American author Jorge Luis Borges, Padilla's collection of short stories have a sense of mystery and confusion, which keep the reader engaged. They often force us to imagine the unimaginable. This is not a book for the beach. It is best read in a quiet room, where one can meditate and enjoy Padilla's exceptional imagination."—New York Post

"[Antipodes] spans time and place as the stories move from one colorful character to another."—Hispanic magazine

"A dozen trinkets about far-flung places, exotic times, weird people, weird things."—Kirkus Reviews

"One of Mexico's foremost young writers presents a handful of eclectic modern-day fables . . . His stories, placed within history, tell of colonialism gone amok, of spirituality gone awry, bringing a beautiful, surreal narrative to the ways our history has been shaped."—Booklist

"This collection of 12 short stories pays homage to Borges [by] perpetuating the vague atmosphere, exotic settings, and ironic, finely tuned prose of the master for whom every word counts . . . Of the more characteristic sagas are the stories of a Scottish engineer who builds a replica of Edinburgh in the Gobi desert and of a transvestite pilot who ascends Mount Everest—or maybe doesn't. This second appearance in English of a Padilla work, following Shadow Without a Name, delights with its enigmatic teasing, bizarre situations, and ambiguity, all of which noted translator Reid capably conveys. In the end, the reader can't help wondering whether these adventures are merely events of an imaginary world that exists solely within the boundaries of a highly creative literary imagination."—Library Journal

Reviews from Goodreads



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Ignacio Padilla was born in Mexico City and is the author of numerous award-winning novels and short-story collections. Shadow Without a Name was the first of his works to be translated into English.
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  • Ignacio Padilla; Translated by Alastair Reid

  • Ignacio Padilla was born in Mexico City and is the author of numerous award-winning novels and short-story collections. Shadow Without a Name was the first of his works to be translated into English.