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An original and dazzling literary debut. A look at the life (and secrets) of the inhabitants of a village in the Spanish heartland.
René and Rosarito get by selling knickknacks at the flea market in the main square of a provincial city. He turns to reading for a way out of his unfulfilled life and makes a bit of extra money hunting birds, moles, lizards, and other creatures he includes in exquisite dishes prepared with bizarre recipes. The family is surrounded by rednecks, retired Civil Guards, aristocrats gone to seed, Polish immigrants, a philosophical cockfighter, a taxidermist, and a roll call of characters straight out of a part of Spain that refuses to disappear, with Rocío, a gypsy woman who provokes mixed feelings in René, as their star.
Food and Junk is an unusual literary feat for the twenty-first century, invoking the psychological and rural atmosphere of Juan Rulfo with characters straight out of Delibes or Umbral, dialogue worthy of Almodóvar, and the looming threat of tragedy à la Lorca. All of this with the skill of a poet now turning to the novel for the first time.
Álex Prada makes his fiction debut with a story that pays homage to Spanish culture and the books that have shaped him as a reader—and yet this is something entirely new, bringing his talent to the world stage and evoking praise from authors like Santiago Lorenzo: “A visceral master class in how to draw the meaning out of language.”