Snippet: National children’s and juvenile lit prize (Spain, 2014)

Diego Arboleda (Stockholm, 1976, writer) and Raúl Sagospe (Vicálvaro, 1974, illustrator, blog) won this year’s national literature prize (and a lot of other awards) in the category of children’s and juvenile books with Prohibido leer a Lewis Carroll [Forbidden to read Lewis Carroll].

The publisher’s review:

This book narrates the history of Eugéne Chignon, a young French governess who in 1932 travels to New York to take care of a girl, Alice, whose unbound passion for the world created by Lewis Carroll has made her parents forbid her to read his books. Eugéne’s first mission will be to prevent Alice from finding out that Alice Liddell, the authentic Alice who inspired Lewis Carroll, now aged 83, is going to visit the city to receive an homage. Eugéne Chignon will find out that strange coincidences, extravagant characters and absurd situations are not only property of Wonderland, but that normally they are part of our world and especially of that house. Crazy comedy as well as (real and despite this even crazier) historical data fit into this novel, in which nonsense, Carroll’s emblematic nonsense, ends up making a lot of sense.

The historical facts that inspired Arboleda are the tribute to Alicia Lidell at Columbia University (honorary doctor, 1932) and the prohibition of Alice in Wonderland in China in 1931, arguing that there appeared talking animals.

The jury considered it “an extremely original work with a brilliant sense of humor and great narrative rhythm. The text, the recreation of an epoch, is sprinkled with literary and historical references. It is outstanding for its solid and very well constructed characters as well as for the fine irony of its linguistics puns.” (Aurora Intxausti, El País)

SOURCE: El País, Oct. 14, 2014; Anaya (publisher)


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