Marina Espasa, El dia del cérvol [The deer’s day], 208 p., 2016
Minerva has spent the last months confined to her home while writing a PhD thesis on the circular time. One night, on her way home from a concert a Heliogàbal, she becomes aware of a strange deer proliferation in Barcelona. They are everywhere: on t-shirts, sweaters, canvas bags, in graffiti on the walls, in a fashionable beer label. That this deer invasion, subtle as it may be, holds a real risk, will be discovered by Minerva thanks to Ricard and a journey of both of them to southern Sweden. There she also discovers that love and happiness are as fragile and deceptive as the worst anguish.
With El dia del cérvol, her second novel, Marina Espasa constructs a work that moves with elegance between supernatural suggestion and everyday life.
A critic’s comments:
“Espasa… has managed to write a work that is every publisher’s dream, a light novel, absorbent, that one can read in one session and that, at the same time, is able to activate second readings.”
“According to the author it is one novel with a lot of other novels inside.”
“A story about a couple that lives a beautiful love story in Sweden, and that, like all love stories, doesn’t have a beautiful end.”
It could be called a spy novel, a political novel (“northern athletes” against “southern slackers”), or a novel about the recent history of Barcelona.
Half urban novel, half rural novel, though these definitions have gone out of fashion and don’t make sense.
There are elements of a gothic novel, of dark tensions. Massot is reminded of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. There is a shadow of death that has to do with the death of somebody close to the author at the time when she wrote the book.
SOURCE: L’Altra (publisher); Josep Massot, La Vanguardia, Feb. 13, 2016, p. 43 [printed edition]