False Calm: A Journey Through the Ghost Towns of Patagonia

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UPC: 9781945492143
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Author: MarĂ­a Sonia Cristoff
Translator: Katherine Silver
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  • Paperback: 225 pages
  • Publisher: Transit Books (October 2, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1945492147
  • ISBN-13: 978-1945492143
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches

"A marvelous chronicle."—Publishers Weekly

Part reportage, part personal essay, part travelogue, False Calm is the breakout work by Argentinian author María Sonia Cristoff. Writing against romantic portrayals of Patagonia, Cristoff returns home to chronicle the ghost towns left behind by the oil boom. In prose that showcases her sharp powers of observation, Cristoff explores Patagonia’s complicated legacy through the lost stories of its people and the desolate places they inhabit.


"Style is perfectly suited to subject; Cristoff travels in a land where real meets surreal and curses, superstition, myth, and mysticism are woven into the fabric of everyday life."—Kirkus Reviews

"Personal memoir, travelogue, and history combine in María Sonia Cristoff’s False Calm, a journey that peels back the layers of the ghostly fog blanketing Patagonia to reveal engrossing complexity."—Foreword Reviews

“Cristoff is far from being just another writer. She is, on the contrary, a magnificent example of a chronicler-essayist narrator: a unique species of those who are possibly on the way to extinction."—Alejandra Costamagna

“Outstanding, fun, insightful.”—Neue Zürcher Zeitung

“A brilliant journalistic investigation."—Denis Scheck, ARD Tagesthemen

“Captivating, intelligent, where the silent strength reaches beyond the real at hand."—Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“A marvelous book with literary reportage, possibly one of the best books to come of the hundreds of new translations from Argentinean literature."—Süddeutsche Zeitung

“Impressive literary quality. A profoundly disquieting image of the Argentinean Patagonia and beyond."—Monika Thees, Die Berliner Literaturkritik


Katherine Silver is an award-winning literary translator. Her most recent translations include works by Daniel Sada, César Aira, Horacio Castellanos Moya, Ernesto Mallo, and Carla Guelfenbein. She has also translated works by José Emilio Pacheco, Elena Poniatowska, Jorge Franco, Martín Adán, and Pedro Lemebel, among others.