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 novel set in Cali, Colombia, Claudia’s acute observations remind us that children are capable of discerning extremely complex realities even if they cannot fully understand them. Quintana leads us brilliantly into the lonely heart of the child we have all once been, driven by fear of abandonment.
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Welcome to the jungle, The TLS
Pilar Quintana is a widely respected Colombian author. In 2007, Hay Festival selected her as one of the most promising young authors of Latin America. Her previous novel, The Bitch, won a PEN Translates award in the UK and was a finalist for the National Book Award in the US. It also won the prestigious Colombian Biblioteca de Narrativa Prize, was selected for several Best Books of 2017 lists, and was chosen as one of the most valuable objects to preserve for future generations in a marble time capsule in Bogotá. Abyss, her latest novel, was awarded the Alfaguara de Novela Prize, which is among the most prestigious awards in the Spanish language.
Lisa Dillman is an acclaimed translator of Spanish-language fiction and Professor of Pedagogy at Emory University, where she has taught since 2001. Her primary interests revolve around the practice of literary translation, translation theory - including feminist translation - and contemporary fiction. The translator of over thirty novels and fifty short stories, Lisa has won numerous international awards and honors for her work, including the Best Translated Book Award for Yuri Herrera’s Signs Preceding the End of the World (And Other Stories) in 2016. She is currently Interdisciplinary Teaching Fellow at the Institute of Liberal Arts, Emory University and will resume duties as Professor of Pedagogy in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese in Fall 2023.
Hay Festival's Book of the Month is our monthly recommendation of a book we love and think holds particular resonance. This is our chance to celebrate great works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry year-round.
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