In a small, quiet village in rural Majorca at the foot of the Sierra de Tramontana, Marc and his father spend months among pines and holly oaks in absolute solitude, with only each other for company. Surrounded by the silence and beauty of the mountain, they attend to the burning of the oaks, sacrificing sleep and other needs in a kind of endless vigil. That is the life of the charcoal man: halfway between dreams and reality.
But this peaceful idyll is cut short when death brutally and unexpectedly intrudes upon the lives of Marc and his father, violently ripping away their mother and wife. While the father is overwhelmed by the terrible event, immersing himself in a silence from which he cannot return to the world where the crime occurred, his son, drawing on the superhuman qualities and strength of children, recovers and adapts to the tragedy by accepting the impossible: the fact that something sacred, something that no-one should ever touch, has been taken away from him; the chance to be loved.
In a serene voice that contrasts with the anguish it describes, Soto Femenía is a solid narrator. His tranquillity holds together a tale that explores the pain of death encountered at a young age and then the thirst for revenge once one has grown older and become aware of the tragedy and injustice that come down upon us without warning.
This is undoubtedly a new twist in top quality fiction: a rural crime drama that will seep into the deepest parts of the reader’s soul thanks to the painstaking delicacy of a tale set in a unique environment and landscape.