It portrays “the children of a decolonized generation, Spain without a safety belt, those who knew where to go—from the villages to the cities—and television in black-and-white.”
It’s 1975 when Mercedes, a young teacher, moves with her three little children to a village in the Spanish interior. Her husband has to stay in Madrid to work, and Mercedes hires Miss Emérita, a childless widow, to help her around the house and with the children. David, the youngest, establishes a precious and unique friendship with Emérita that will mark both of them for life. She will teach him everything she knows—harsh but useful lessons about life in the country—while David, with a child’s gentleness, will make her smile; and thanks to him, Emérita will get back something she thought she had lost forever, and will also learn how to read.
A warm and luminous novel about the power of love that depicts a time and a country. A tale about the loss of innocence and the passage into adulthood, and an homage to those—in some ways innocent, in some guilty—to those who brought us to where we are without asking for anything in return.
Winner of the Primavera Prize 2021
A tender and nostalgic novel, a deeply felt family chronicle that describes the changes that took place in Spanish society in the final decades of the twentieth century.