Snippet: Eva Baltasar’s “Permafrost”

PERMAGEL

Eva Baltasar, Permagel [Permafrost], 2018, 192 p.

Premi Llibreter 2018 [Barcelona and Catalan booksellers’ prize for a published work, not endowed financially]

publisher’s summary:

Permafrost is that part of the earth that doesn’t ever totally thaw, and it’s the membrane that coats the heroine of this book. A manner to preserve that very soft part inside a person in formation. The outer world threatens, one has to dare to leave the familiar cell. Afterwards, gather strength: not doing anything but f***ing and reading. To find a place where the lie isn’t necessary, where the ice cracks. And begin.

from Miracle Sala’s review:

The whole novel focuses from and to the female universe: the vision that the female protagonist has got of herself and her own circumstances, the relationship with the women of her family (mother, sister and cousins) and with her lovers. Psychological disorders, effervescence of desire and s** between women, the discovery of the narrative “I” through a lively, modern, therapeutic and overflowing language.

The protagonist reveals herself as suicidal, but she is very vital. She seems cynical and cold, but she has got tenderness and patience. She is ironic, but also philosophical, with a very rich internal world. It seems that she is too lazy for life, but she likes to spend her time reading, enjoying s**, eating, art… “People are an accumulations of dresses and shoes,” she says in one moment of the work. But through the liveliness and the rhythm imposed by her language and the sincerity of feelings that she pours in it, we know that she is that and a lot more.

Permagel is the beginning of a trilogy that will continue with Boulder and Mamut. We congratulate Eva Baltasar to a strong beginning in the novel genre, with the firm step of a poetic and personal style that breaks up the ice and carries her readers away on the flow of words.

 

SOURCE: Laie (bookstore; the publisher’s website is under construction); review on Núvol (March 13, 2018)

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Snippet: Rodrigo Murillo’s “Sentimental heroes”

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Rodrigo Murillo, Los héroes sentimentales [The sentimental heroes], 2018, 304 p.

winner of the “I Premio Jose Ángel Mañas-Nuevos Talentos 2018″

publisher’s summary:

A mysterious ambush in the Andes mountains, a rich family divided by political violence and the guerrilla, and a priest who conserves his humanity while the whole country seems to fall down into the abyss. Los Heroes Sentimentales is a powerful novel, set in the 1990s Perú, based on real and documented facts, that illustrates to what amount simple and normal people, who only want to live in peace, can come to suffer when they see themselves absorbed by the hurricane of one of the most bloody and atrocious conflicts that Latin America experienced in its recent past.

author self-presentation:

My name is Rodrigo Murillo Bianchi. I was born in 1986 when Maradona scored his unforgettable goal, and when Chernobyl and the spaceship Challenger told the world that it wasn’t as modern and safe as it believed to be. I opened my eyes on the slopes of the volcano Misti, on an August day, in Arequipa (Perú). As a child I wanted to be a soccer player. I was an agile and tenacious goalkeeper, and my idols were Gialuca Pagliuca and Jorge Campos. When I learned that this was not possible, and given that I liked reading, I decided to become a lawyer. I did it and during a few years I worked for a bank corporationa and two law firms. Then there came the day when, bored by the routine and the corporate tedium, I decided to become a historian and I gave up my work as a lawyer. And when I was a historian and university chair of history, I decided to come to Europe and turn into a political scientist, analyst and journalist. Besides my professional law career (UPC), I studied Literary Narrative (PUCP) and completed two MA degrees. One in History, at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP), and the other in International Politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

 SOURCE: Nuevos Talentos (publisher)

Snippet: Almeida’s “The faithful deceased” – Camões prize 2018

Germano Almeida, O fiel defunto [The faithful deceased], 2018, 328 p.

winner of the Camões prize 2018

publisher’s summary:

Everybody was caught by surprise, so no one tried to prevent the unexpected murder of the best known and most translated writer of the islands, a few moments before the start of the presentation ceremony of what turned out to be his last work. And yet, on that day the vast auditorium overflowed with a festive crowd of fans and other curious, all impatient with the expectation of an autograph in the already very popular book that they were preparing to acquire. So it had not occurred to anyone that an event of this nature, always awaited with general and great anxiety, could have such an unexpected as well as brutal outcome, especially given the quality of the people involved in the tragedy.

 

The Wikipedia offers this short article on Germano Almeida (Cape Verde, 1945), and this  one on the Camões Prize. Amazon lists Almeida’s novel The Last Will and Testament of Senhor da Silva Araujo as available in English.

This blog has got articles on previous editions of the Camões prize: 2015, 2014.

SOURCE: Caminho (publisher)

Snippet: Alberto Ruy’s “The serpent’s dreams”

megustaleer - Los sueños de la serpiente (Mapa de las lenguas) - Alberto Ruy Sánchez

Alberto Ruy Sánchez, Los sueños de la serpiente [The serpent’s dreams], 2017, 304 p.

winner of the 2018 Mazatlán literature prize [named after and offered by a city in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, Wikipedia (Spanish)]

publisher’s summary:

To retrieve his memory, a centenary man, locked up in a psychiatric ward, writes and draws at the walls of his cell the memories that are coming back. This throws him into an adventure through the big illusions and disappointments of his century, and leads him to discover the multiple lives that inhabit him. He has to invent his ancestors and let distill a deeper truth. He has to invent himself from a few shreds of memories or delusions.

His mystery becomes unraveled with shocks, silences and overflows: apparently he is a Mexican emigré to the United States, unhappily in love with the woman who will be seduced for other purposes than love by Trotsky’s assassin. Newly emigrated to the Soviet Union, he turns into a worker in the weapons plant that Henry Ford sold to Stalin to create a Utopian Soviet Detroit. Finally he will be the calligrapher and builder of this peculiar labyrinth. At the centenary of the Soviet Revolution, his testimony is an echo chamber of both, enthusiast and painful echoes. His catatonia and his awakening are those of the century. And they haven’t ended yet.

 

From J.A. Masoliver Ródenas’ review:

We are in front of a novel that is as complex as it is clear, audacious and exciting.

 

There is an English website dedicated to Alberto Ruy Sánchez (Mexico, D.F., 1951).

 

SOURCE: Alfaguara (PRH Spain; publisher); review in “Cultura/s,” La Vanguardia, June 9, 2018, p. 7 [printed edition]

Snippet: Mónica Baños, “Where the stars disappear” (juvenile literature)

Donde desaparecen las estrellas

Mónica Baños, Donde desaparecen las estrellas [Where the stars disappear], 2018, 320 p.

winner of the 6th La Caixa / Plataforma prize for a juvenile novel

from the news:

The 22-year-old law student Mónica Baños recently won the La Caixa / Plataforma literary prize for her debut novel Donde desaparecen las estrellas, endowed with 3,000 EUR plus the novel’s publication.

 

publisher’s summary:

If there is anything that characterizes the small coastal village of Melía, it is the popular belief that the stars can influence the lives of its inhabitants.

Gala lives there, a young woman who spends her days working in a flowershop. Everything changes with the return of Néstor, one of her closest childhood friends. But Gala is not the same one any longer: a series of events that took place during the past year have turned her into a lonely and somewhat aloof person.

When she gets the opportunity to work for the local newspaper, and thus dispel the bad memories that torment her, she meets on her way with Constanza, an elegant elderly lady who brings to light secrets of Gala’s family that are colored by pain but above all by hope.

Gala will have to learn to pardon the ghosts of her past while she find the way to pardon herself.

SOURCE: CCMA (ANC news agency) May 2, 2018; La Caixa (savings bank); Plataforma (publisher)

Snippet: Badal’s “things seen with nonexisting eyes”

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Josep Lluís Badal, Les coses que realment han vist aquests ulls inexistents [The things that really have been seen by these nonexisting eyes], 2017, 264 p.

winner of the Premi Crítica Serra d’Or novel prize 2018 [not endowed, but prestigious, awarded by Serra d’Or magazine, a publication of Montserrat abbey]

Cover text:

There is an immense and unstructured night. But it’s “apostrophised” with our heart. It’s mid-afternoon, the weather is nice, father’s shirtsleeves are rolled up. Outside a dog barks, the elms throb, the attic tap drips. One can hear my brother’s blows, he is busy at the courtyard workshop. Mother is downstairs, serving at the shop, or better said, waiting for the first customer of the afternoon. The house smells of work, of cold food. A certain smell of earth, of hanging tomatoes, of potatoes on straw, of absence. Sitting on the sink, resting from the day, from work, from illness, from life, that in recent years he has insisted considering a farce, my father contemplates a cloud.

Underneath the red moustache he smiles.

I miss you.

SOURCE: Casa del libro (bookseller; Planeta); Publicacions d’Abadia de Montserrat (publisher)

Snippet: EDEBÉ prizes 2018 for children’s and juvenile literature

The prizes of the 26th edition of the edebé for children’s and juvenile literature were awarded on Feb. 1, 2018 – endowed with 55,000 EUR each.

Children’s literature: Soy una nuez [I’m a walnut] by Beatriz Osés, 2018, 128 p.

Soy una nuez

summary :

Illustrated by Jordi Sempere, Soy una nuez explains the story of Omar, an orphan child refugee. Walnuts are strong on the outside, and inside they have the form of a brain, explains Osés, the shell can be a boat. (La Vanguardia)

An original, funny and endearing novel that talks to us about the persons’ and the refugees’ loneliness.

My name is Omar and I am a walnut. My father was a gardener and my mother smelled like cinnamon. Both were eaten by the sea shortly before reaching the beach. I saw them disappear while floting in that nutshell together with other strangers. Of the three, only I wore a small lifevest with my name on it. It had been written by my mother so that I would never forget it. (edebé)

author information:

Beatriz Osés (1972, Madrid). Journalist, a graduate of Universidad Complutense, is a writer and teacher of [Spanish] Language and Literature. By her work she wants to incentivate her students’ creativity and foment reading through literary creation.

She has won numerous prizes for educational innovation and literary creation. Among her works published by edebé stand out Un cocodrilo para Laura [A crocodile for Laura] and the crime saga protagonized by Erik Vogler.

http://beatrizosesgarcia.blogspot.com.es/

 

Juvenile literature: Desconocidos [Unknown], by David Lozano, 2018, 224 p.

Desconocidos

summary:

Two young people who got in touch on the internet agree to meet in Barcelona; and on the Costa Brava [coast north of Barcelona] a female police inspector suspects of an alleged suicide. Lozano has got a lot of fans; he sold 150,000 copies of Donde surgen las sombras [Where the shadows emerge]. (La Vanguardia)

Two stories, the same night, and a dark suspicion.

Two lives cross late at night through the networks. Two youngsters who submit to a mysterious game: share their dreams, hopes and fears, but not their identity. They quickly take the next step: a blind date. But meeting with a stranger always involves risks. Because we all hide secrets…

A corpse. The body of a young guy, disfigured by the violence of the fall. A young life ruined for ever, a death that arouses more questions than answers. (edebé)

author information:

David Lozano Garbala (Zaragoza, 1974) is a law graduate of Universidad de Zaragoza. He has also got an M.A. in Communication and studied Spanish Philology. He worked as a lawyer, and nowadays he combines writing and teaching with working as a screenwriter for different Spanish production companies.

In 2006, he won the 28th Gran Angular prize of juvenile literature with the novel Donde surgen las sombras [Where the shadows emerge]. With Herejía [Heresy] he was runner-up of the Hache prize, with El ladrón de minutos [The thief of minutes] runner-up of the edebé of children’s literature; he is also the author of the gothic fantasy trilogy La Puerta Oscura [The dark door], that he is currently transforming into a cinema script. His novels have been translated into different languages and can be acquired in a dozen countries.

Edebé has published his children’s novel El ladrón de minutos [The thief of minutes], translated into German, Italian, Persian and Turkish.

 

SOURCE: Edebé (publisher; Osés, Lozano); La Vanguardia, Feb. 3, 2018, p. 33 [printed edition]