Claudia is an impressionable eight-year-old girl, trying to understand the world through the eyes of the adults around her. But her hardworking father hardly speaks a word, while her unhappy mother spends her days reading celebrity lifestyle magazines, tending to her enormous collection of plants, and filling Claudia’s head with stories about women who end their lives in tragic ways. Then an interloper arrives, disturbing the delicate balance of family life, and Claudia’s world starts falling apart. In this strikingly vivid portrait of Cali, Colombia, Claudia’s acute observations remind us that children are capable of discerning extremely complex realities even if they cannot fully understand them. In Abyss, Quintana leads us brilliantly into the lonely heart of the child we have all once been, driven by fear of abandonment.


“Pilar Quintana has created a powerful story that contrasts with the hopeless and doomed atmosphere that surrounds the protagonist. In subtle and brilliant prose, in which nature connects us with the symbolic possibilities of literature, the abysses are both real and intimate.” JURY, Alfaguara Novel Prize 2021

“A wonderful tender novel, both tough and subtle.” —Fernanda Melchor

“A work built around small details that can define an entire continent.” Vogue

“In a powerful, unsettling voice, Pilar Quintana explores the fears of childhood alongside the fragility and violence of adults. With lucidity, innocence, suspense and the labyrinths of desire, she draws an unforgettable map of the heartrending road to freedom.”—IRENE VALLEJO

Rights Profile

WORLD, excl USA, Can., Netherlands & Belgium



Publication Date

February 2023


ABYSS on the World Editions website