A collection of disturbing stories halfway between real and fantastical. Castellarnau is one of the most promising voices in contemporary Spanish prose.
In these eight tales, writer Ariadna Castellarnau enters the realm of fantasy to explore the strange and shadowy side of human relationships. A girl who takes refuge in the forest, running from her family, meets a feral teenager; two brothers, one of whose deformity turns him into an object of fascination, compete for the attention of their absent parents; a man who must leave a girl at a brothel will establish with her a bond for eternity; a couple on an island tries to find meaning in their life while they decide what to do with a mysterious baby that has appeared in front of their door; a girl hopes in vain to satisfy the expectations of her father by learning his profession.
In the line of Mariana Enriquez, Shirley Jackson or Samanta Schweblin, these short stories are intense, mesmerizing and open ended, its characters move in an uncertain, twisting terrain.
Words Without Borders will publish the short story The Water Man in September 2020.
"The short stories of Ariadna Castellarnau are elegant and cruel, relentless in their enormous melancholy. Gods and monsters, deep solitudes, myths that refuse to die: there's a particular and secret world of great beauty." Mariana Enríquez
"Each and every one of these stories tries to investigate the truth of human experience, but in a rather unorthodox manner, ‘through the back door,’ showing the hidden sides of things rather than things themselves. Fantastical elements are present, but not in the way we usually think. I don’t present an alternative world that creeps in through the cracks in the real one—the real world is the alternative one." Ariadna Castellarnau