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Proceed With Caution

Stories and a Novella

Patricia Ratto

172 pages
Schaffner Press Inc
In the tradition of surrealist masters Julio Cortázar and Leonora Carrington, and joining contemporaries Guadalupe Nettel (Bezoar & Other Unsettling Stories) and Samanta Schweblin (Mouthful of Birds), Argentine writer Patricia Ratto’s English language debut collection, Proceed With Caution, offers an alternate reality that is both mysterious and familiar. Whether it’s a malevolent act born from the paranoia of living under a totalitarian regime, or the creeping sense of dread blanketing a small whaling town, the stories in Proceed With Caution linger in the memory, and make us question where the natural world ends and the supernatural begins. In “Rara Avis” a baby bird is rescued after dropping from the sky, only to transform from vulnerable creature to life-threatening menace. In the powerfully moving title story, an old woman lives out her final days accompanied by a mysterious doglike being that provides comfort even as it devours her memories. And in the novella “Submerged,” an Argentine submarine crew during the Falklands War of the early 1980s navigates its way through a claustrophobic nightmare of boredom and terror, where the very meaning of being alive is cast in doubt. Translated from the Spanish by PEN/Heim award-winner Andrea G. Labinger, Proceed With Caution is a striking collection, brimming with emotion, animal instinct, and a sense of wonder that announces the arrival of a compelling new voice in Latin American literature.
Author Bio
Patricia Ratto is an Argentine writer and teacher. She is the author of the novels Pequeños hombres blancos (Little White Men, 2006), Nudos (Knots, 2008), and Trasfondo (Background, 2012) and the story collection Faunas (Wildlife, 2017), all published by Adriana Hidalgo Editora. Many of her short stories have been published in literary magazines and anthologies, while her novels have previously been translated into Italian, and her novella, Trasfondo, is scheduled to be turned into a feature film by award-winning Argentine director Pablo Giorgelli. Proceed With Caution is her English language debut. Andrea G. Labinger has published numerous translations of Latin American fiction. Gesell Dome, her translation of Guillermo Saccomanno's noir novel Cámara Gesell (Open Letter, 2016), won a PEN/Heim Translation Award and was long-listed for the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses' Firecracker Award. Her most recent translation, Saccomanno's 77 (Open Letter 2019) was selected as a finalist for the 2020 Best Translated Book Awards.