Snippet: Inma Chacón’s “Land without men”

Inma Chacón, Tierra sin hombres [Land without men], 2016, 480 p.

The publisher’s summary:

A great family saga that addresses the battle between that which is offered by destiny and that which is desired by the heart.

The sisters Elisa and Sabela are growing up in a small village near Ferrol (Galicia) where their mother, a poor milkmaid, raises them without help from her husband. Mateo, who emigrated to [South] America to start a business that never really took off, only left her his brother Manuel, deaf from birth, who with his fearful and simple kindness helps her to get ahead with her daughters.

When Rosalia begins to plan the wedding of her daughter Elisa with Eloy, the only bachelor of the village, she doesn’t expect that Sabela has fallen in love with him and that the handsome miner Martín has got other plans for Elisa.

Tierra sin hombres is a novel of characters and family intrigues framed into the Galicia of the late 19th and early 20th century, in a rainy, poor village full of superstition and gossip; a land of widows of the living, where the women see how their husbands have to emigrate in search of a better life, a dream that sometimes comes true and at other times turns against everybody.

In an interview with La Vanguardia newspaper, Chacón (Zafra, Extremadura, 1954), a poet and writer with nine published books, says that the emigration of a century ago was hard but that she thinks that today’s situation is worse, where women instead of husbands are losing their children to emigration, as a lot of young, university educated Spaniards are leaving their country for northern Europe or the Americas to find jobs that better match their qualifications, or ones that are better paid than those offered in Spain, or jobs at all…

Planeta presents this novel as “feminine literature”… their foreign rights page offers a biographical sketch. Chacón had eight siblings, all of them writers. Her twin-sister Dulce was a well-known author who died from cancer in 2003 (Wikipedia). Amazon.com offers Dulce Chacón’s The Sleeping Voice in English, but none of Inma’s in translation.

SOURCE: Planeta (publisher); La Vanguardia, Sept. 27, 2016

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