- $ 12.900,00
2020 NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS TRANSLATED LITERATURE FINALIST
In Colombia’s brutal jungle, childless Damaris develops an intense and ultimately doomed relationship with an orphaned puppy.
“The magic of this sparse novel is its ability to talk about many things, all of them important, while seemingly talking about something else entirely. What are those things? Violence, loneliness, resilience, cruelty. Quintana works wonders with her disillusioned, no-nonsense, powerful prose.” Juan Gabriel Vásquez, author of The Sound of Things Falling
“The Bitch is a novel of true violence. Artist that she is, Pilar Quintana uncovers wounds we didn’t know we had, shows us their beauty, and then throws a handful of salt into them.” Yuri Herrera, author of Signs Preceding the End of the World
Colombia’s Pacific coast, where everyday life entails warding off the brutal forces of nature. In this constant struggle, nothing is taken for granted. Damaris lives with her fisherman husband in a shack on a bluff overlooking the sea. Childless and at that age “when women dry up,” as her uncle puts it, she is eager to adopt an orphaned puppy. But this act may bring more than just affection into her home. The Bitch is written in a prose as terse as the villagers, with storms―both meteorological and emotional―lurking around each corner. Beauty and dread live side by side in this poignant exploration of the many meanings of motherhood and love.
A searing psychological portrait of a troubled woman contending with her instinct to nurture is at the heart of Colombian writer Quintana's slim, potent English-language debut. Damaris, a lonely married woman, adopts a puppy from her neighbor and brings her to the small shack she shares with her husband, Rogelio, atop a jungle bluff overlooking the sea. Rogelio, a fisherman, hates dogs but owns three to protect his property. As Damaris pampers the dog, Quintana reveals through straightforward, commanding prose the couple's history of failed attempts at having a child, and Damaris's memories of loss, such as her mother being killed by a stray bullet and a neighbor boy being taken out to sea by a wave when they were eight. As the puppy, named Chirli after the daughter Damaris never had, grows, so does Damaris's love for the dog, until Chirli disappears into the jungle. When the dog returns malnourished and wounded, Damaris nurses her back to health until she disappears again. The pattern continues, and Damaris grows resentful toward Chirli and becomes violent with her. The brutal scenes unfold quickly, with lean, stinging prose. Quintana's vivid novel about love, betrayal, and abandonment hits hard.