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Die, My Love

£9.99

Man Booker International 2018 longlist

 

In a forgotten patch of French countryside, a woman is battling her demons embracing exclusion yet wanting to belong, craving freedom whilst feeling trapped, yearning for family life but at the same time wanting to burn the entire house down. Given surprising leeway by her family for her increasingly erratic behaviour, she nevertheless feels ever more stifled and repressed. Motherhood, womanhood, the banality of love, the terrors of desire, the inexplicable brutality of another person carrying your heart forever Die, My Love faces all this with a raw intensity. It s not a question of if a breaking point will be reached, but rather when and how violent a form will it take?

 

This is a brutal, wild book it s impossible to come out from reading Ariana Harwicz unscathed. The language of Die, My Love cuts like a scalpel even as it attains a kind of cinematic splendour, evoking the likes of John Cassavetes, David Lynch, Lars von Trier and John Ford. In a text that explores the destabilising effects of passion and its absence, immersed in the psyche of a female protagonist always on the verge of madness, in the tradition of Sylvia Plath and Clarice Lispector, Harwicz moulds language, submitting it to her will in irreverent prose. Bruising and confrontational, yet anchored in an unapologetic beauty and lyricism, Die, My Love is a unique reading experience that quickly becomes addictive.

Fireflies

£8.99

How do we even begin to narrate the history of the world? Where do we start, and where do we end? Fireflies is Luis Sagasti’s bold and original attempt to answer these questions. Taking an eclectic array of influences and personalities from modern history, he teases out events that at first glance seem random and insignificant and proceeds to weave them together masterfully, entertaining as he enlightens. Joseph Beuys, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Stanley Kubrick, Neil Armstrong, Wittgenstein, Glenn Miller and the Beatles; poets and authors, priests, astronauts and Russian sailors all make an appearance, and Sagasti finds common threads to bind their stories together.

 

The fireflies themselves perhaps provide the key to understanding this book. They become a metaphor for the resistance of certain luminous moments, certain twinkling fragments of history, to the passing of time. They remind us that events do not always disappear neatly into the darkness, but rather remain, floating in the air, lighting up the night sky for years to come. Sagasti shows us that the present moment, like this novel, is a tapestry woven of a multiplicity of times.

 

Using his unique, poetic and keenly observant style, Sagasti turns the accidents of history into a single, lyrical constellation, and for the reader it’s an extraordinary sight.

Fish Soup

£9.99

Uncomfortable family situations, unfortunate health conditions, people on the brink of survival this is what each story in this collection captures, every ripple and every echo that travels from one person to another. With narrative ease and a seductive pull, Margarita García Robayo reminds us that sometimes intimate struggles are as fragile as they are political, and there is nothing but time that keeps us going.

 

A refreshing and luminous novella, Until a Hurricane can be read as a flamed rite of passage novel but also as a story of a turn against the what one s country makes you dream for. Longing to get out of the coastal village where she lives, an ambitious girl thinks up the best plan for escape: becoming a flight attendant. In her cynical and sad voice and a dark, dirty city, we find the other side of the happy Caribbean. In this context, another American dream is lived and relationships start to fumble and bring claustrophobia. It s a habitat that naturalizes petty violence and where the accepted code is competition and necessity. A story that ponders the destiny of its characters in the middle of catastrophes that can be real, self-provoked or the result of an intelligent strategy.

Older Brother

£12.99

How can we narrate grief? Can we really rationalise death? Pain cannot be told in the present, only in the past; however, Mella chooses to narrate it in the future, as if everything bad is about to happen further down the line, until something reminds him that the future actually arrived a long time ago.

 

During the summer of 2014, on one of the stormiest days on record to hit the coast of Uruguay, 31-year old Alejandro, lifeguard and younger brother of our protagonist, dies after being hit by lightning. Combining memoir and fiction, this novel is the urgent exploration of the brotherly bond, and the effects that death has on our inner circles. An exploration that takes the author back into his past, and right into the centre of his obsessions.

 

‘If I can t be free in my writing, I cannot be free anywhere else’, admits the narrator towards the end of this fascinating book that interweaves fiction with brotherhood and grief at the centre of family relations.

Slum Virgin

£9.99

“Queer writing at its most exhilarating.” ―Times Literary Supplement

 

The slums of Buenos Aires, the government, the mafia, the Virgin Mary, corrupt police, sex workers, thieves, drug dealers, and debauchery all combine in this sweeping novel deemed a ‘revelation for contemporary literature’ and ‘pure dynamite’ (Andrés Neuman, author of Traveller of the Century & Talking to Ourselves).

 

When the Virgin Mary appears to Cleopatra, she renounces sex work and takes charge of the shantytown she lives in, transforming it into a tiny utopia. Ambitious journalist Quity knows she’s found the story of the year when she hears about it, but her life is changed forever once she finds herself irrevocably seduced by the captivating subject of her article. Densely-packed, fast-paced prose, weaving slang and classical references, Slum Virgin refuses to whitewash the reality of the poor and downtrodden, and jumps deftly from tragedy to comedy in a way that has the reader laughing out loud.

Southerly

£9.99

On the eve of an important battle, a colonel is visited in his tent by an indigenous woman with a message to pass on. A man sets about renovating the house of his childhood, and starts to feel that he might be rebuilding his own life in the process. At a private clinic to treat the morbidly obese, a caregiver has issues of her own…

 

Acclaimed writer and poet Jorge Consiglio presents a universe of seemingly unrelated tales, linked perhaps by a certain rhythm in the prose or subtle dimensions of violence and perversion. These are stories of immigration, marginality, history, intimacy and obsession which are masterful and deeply touching, domestic yet universal. They each present their own distinctive view of the world through the lives of their respective characters who are as dissimilar as they are complex and the profound transformations they undergo. As reflections on the uncontrollable nature of life, as depictions of how even the most innocent detail can become a threat, these stories do not offer neat endings but rather remain open to the reader’s sense of inquisitiveness.

The Distance Between Us

£12.99

This is a son’s search for his father. A familiar theme, but one that, across the generations, can occasionally unearth something rather powerful. In The Distance Between Us that son is Renato Cisneros, a talented writer and a well-known journalist, and that father is the former Army General Luis Federico ‘El Gaucho’ Cisneros, one of the most important figures in the recent history of Peru.

 

Renato Cisneros digs into his own family history to understand and demystify the figure of ‘El Gaucho’: the controversial Secretary during the regime of Francisco Morales Bermúdez and, shortly after, the country’s Minister of War. In this book, the intimate perspective and the passage of time reveal the unknown truths about a man, a family and an entire country.

The President’s Room

£8.99

Translated by Charlotte Coombe.

 

In a nameless suburb in an equally nameless country, every house has a room reserved for the president. No one knows when or why this came to be. It’s simply how things are, and no one seems to question it except for one young boy.

 

The room is kept clean and tidy, nobody talks about it and nobody is allowed to use it. It is for the president and no one else. But what if he doesn’t come? And what if he does? As events unfold, the reader is kept in the dark about what’s really going on. So much so, in fact, that we begin to wonder if even the narrator can be trusted . . .

 

Ricardo Romero has been compared to Kafka and Italo Calvino, and we see why in this eerie, meditative novel narrated by a shy young boy who seems to be very good at lying about the truth. Following in the footsteps of Julio Cortázar and a certain literary tradition of sinister rooms (such as Dr Jekyll’s laboratory), The President’s Room is a mysterious tale based on the suspicion that a house is never just one single home.