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Overview

In this brutal, gripping novel, Selva Almada narrates the case of three small-town teenage girls murdered in the 1980's in the interior of Argentina.Three deaths without culprits: 19-year old Andrea Danne, stabbed in her own bed; 15-year old María Luisa Quevedo, raped, strangled, and dumped in wasteland; and 20-year old Sarita Mundín, whose disfigured body was found on a river bank. Almada takes these and other tales of abused women to weave together a dry, straightforward portrait of gender violence that surpasses national borders and speaks to readers' consciousness all over the world.Following the success of The Wind That Lays Waste, internationally acclaimed Argentinian author Selva Almada dives into the heart of this problem with a reported novel, comparable to Truman Capote's _In Cold Blood _or John Hersey's Hiroshima, in response to the urgent need for attention to the ongoing catastrophe that is femicide.Not a police chronicle, not a thriller, but a contemporary noir novel that lives in the hearts of these women and the men who have abused them. Almada captures the invisible, and with lyrical brutality, blazes a new trail in journalistic fiction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781916277847
Publisher: Charco Press
Publication date: 09/03/2020
Pages: 170
Sales rank: 648,080
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x (d)

About the Author

Compared to Carson McCullers, William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Sara Gallardo and Juan Carlos Onetti, Selva Almada (Entre Ríos, Argentina, 1973) is considered one of the most powerful voices of contemporary Argentinian and Latin American literature and one of the most influential feminist intellectuals of the region. Including her debut _The Wind that Lays Waste, _she has published two novels, a book of short stories, a book of journalistic fiction and a kind of film diary (written in the set of Lucrecia Martel’s most recent film Zama, based on Antonio di Benedetto’s novel). She has been finalist of the Rodolfo Walsh Award and of the Tigre Juan Award (both in Spain). Her work has been translated into French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Swedish and Turkish. This is her second book to appear in English after _The Wind that Lays Waste _(Winner of the EIBF First Book Award 2019).

Annie McDermott’s published and forthcoming translations include Mario Levrero’s _Empty Words _and _The Luminous Novel _(And Other Stories and Coffee House Press), _Feebleminded _by Ariana Harwicz (co-translation with Carolina Orloff, Charco Press) and _City of Ulysses _by Teolinda Gersão (co-translation with Jethro Soutar, Dalkey Archive Press). Her translations, reviews and essays have appeared in Granta, The White Review, World Literature Today, Asymptote, the _Times Literary Supplement _and LitHub, among others. Annie also edits books for Charco Press, including Julián Fuks’ Resistance and Giuseppe Caputo’s An Orphan World. Her translation of Almada’s third novel, Brickmakers, will come out with Charco Press and Graywolf in 2021.

Read an Excerpt

The morning of November 16th, 1986, was clear and cloudless in Villa Elisa, the town where I was born and raised, in the central eastern part of Entre Ríos province.It was a Sunday and my dad was grilling meat in the backyard. We still didn’t have a proper barbecue, but he made do with a metal sheet on the ground, the coals on top, and a grill on top of the coals. My dad would barbecue in all weathers: if it rained, he just used another piece of metal to cover the meat and the coals.Near the grill, in the branches of the mulberry tree, a portable, battery-powered radio, tuned permanently to LT26 Radio Nuevo Mundo.They played traditional folk songs and read the news every hour, though there was never much to read. It wasn’t yet forest fire season in the El Palmar national park, around thirty miles away, which went up in flames every summer and set off the sirens in all the fire stations nearby. Aside from the odd road accident, always some kid heading back from a dance, barely anything happened at weekends. Not even football in the afternoons, because the heat meant the tournament had moved to the evenings.I’d been woken that morning in the early hours by a gale that shook the roof of the house. I stretched out in bed and felt something that made me sit bolt upright, heart racing. The mattress was damp, and some warm, slimy forms moved against my legs. Still half-asleep, it took me a few seconds to work out what was going on: my cat had given birth at the foot of the bed again.The lightning that flashed through the window showed her curled up, gazing at me with her yellow eyes. I pulled myself into a ball, hugging my knees, so as not to touch them again.My sister was asleep in the next bed.The lightning cast a blue glow over her face, her half-open eyes – she always slept that way, like hares do – and her chest as it rose and fell, far removed from the storm and the rain that had swept everything away. I fell asleep too, looking at her.When I awoke,only my dad was up.My mum,brother and sister were still sleeping.The cat and her kittens had gone from the bed. The only trace of the birth was a yellowish stain with dark edges, at one end of the sheet.I went out to the yard and told my dad the cat had given birth but I couldn’t find her or her kittens. He was sitting in the shade of the mulberry tree, away from the grill but close enough to keep an eye on it.The stainless steel cup he always used was on the ground at his feet, filled with wine and ice.The metal was sweating.She must’ve hidden them in the shed, he said.I looked over, but couldn’t bring myself to check. A mad dog we used to have once buried her puppies in the shed. She ripped the head off one of them.The canopy of the mulberry tree was a green sky with the sun glinting golden through the leaves. In a few weeks it would be covered in fruit, flies would come buzzing around it, the air would be thick with the bitter- sweet smell of overripe mulberries, and no one would want to sit underneath it for a while. But that morning it was beautiful.You just had to watch out for the hairy caterpillars, bright and green like Christmas wreaths, which were sometimes so heavy they fell from the leaves and burned your skin with their acidic sparks.Then came the news on the radio. I hadn’t been paying attention, but I heard every single word.In the early hours of that same morning, in San José, a town twelve miles away, a teenager had been murdered in her bed as she slept.My dad and I remained silent.From where I stood, I watched him get up from his chair and arrange the coals with a metal rod, levelling them out, bashing them to break up the bigger lumps, his face beaded with sweat from the heat of the flames, the meat he’d just thrown on sizzling gently.A neighbour walked past and shouted something. My dad, still bent over the grill, looked round and waved with his free hand. Be right there, he yelled. And he began nudging the coals aside with the same rod, moving them to one end of the metal, closest to where the ñandubay wood was burning, and leaving just a few, which he figured would be enough to keep the grill hot until he came back. Be right there meant swinging by the bar on the corner for a few cold ones. He slid on the flip-flops that had disappeared in the grass, pulling on the shirt he’d hung from a branch of the mulberry tree.If you see it going out, shove a few coals back over. I won’t be long, he said, hurrying into the street with his sandals flapping, like a kid who’s just seen the ice-cream van.I sat in his chair and picked up the cup he’d left behind.The metal was freezing. An ice cube was floating in the dregs of the wine. I fished it out with two fingers and put it in my mouth to suck.At first it tasted faintly of alcohol, but then it was just water.When there was only a small piece left, I crunched it between my teeth. I laid one hand on my thigh, below the hem of my shorts. It was a shock to feel it so cold. Like the hand of a corpse, I thought. Not that I’d ever touched one.I was thirteen, and that morning the news about the dead girl hit me like a revelation.My house,any teenager’s house, wasn’t really the safest place in the world. You could be killed inside your own home. Horror could live with you, under your roof.In the days that followed, I learnt more details. The girl’s name was Andrea Danne, she was nineteen, blonde, pretty, with blue eyes, she had a boyfriend and was training to be a psychology teacher. Someone had stabbed her in the heart.

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