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Not a River

Selva Almada author Annie McDermott translator


Publisher:Charco Press

Published:23rd Jan '24

Should be back in stock very soon

Not a River cover

Shortlisted for the International Booker Prize 2024

Three men go out fishing, returning to a favourite spot on the river despite their memories of a terrible accident there years earlier. As a long, sultry day passes, they drink and cook and talk and dance, and try to overcome the ghosts of their past. But they are outsiders, and this intimate, peculiar moment also puts them at odds with the inhabitants of this watery universe, both human and otherwise. The forest presses close, and violence seems inevitable, but can another tragedy be avoided?Rippling across time like the river that runs through it, Selva Almada’s latest novel is the finest expression yet of her compelling style and singular vision of rural Argentina.

  • One of the Best Books of 2020 in Clarín and La Nación
  • Shortlisted for the Mario Vargas Llosa Novel Prize
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"Austere yet deeply humane…exhilaratingly accomplished." —The Times Literary Supplement

"In this potent novella from Argentine writer Almada (Brickmakers), the killing of a stingray sets off a series of fateful events along an unnamed South American river. […] Like a dream, this otherworldly tale lingers in the reader’s mind." —Publishers Weekly

"Gripped from start to finish." —Prospect Magazine

"This allusive novel deserves its place on the 2024 International Booker shortlist." —Irish Times

"Several moments evoke Ernest Hemingway." —New Statesman

"A virtuoso literary work. […] Flashbacks and side scenes deepen the story which curls and twines like a thrusting tropical vine through the past, roping in sisters, wives, old lovers, boyhood adventures, and jealousies."" —Annie Proulx , author of THE SHIPPING NEWS

"Told with the hallucinatory atmosphere of a dream, this astonishing, stark novel doesn’t turn away from the hypnotic and disturbing effects of violence. Not a River plunges us straight into the depths of its silences, bracingly so—the longer the quiet goes, the more terrible the rupture."" —Manuel Muñoz , author of WHAT YOU SEE IN THE DARK

"Selva Almada constructs a lyric of roughness, of few words, a lyric in which the strong, calloused hands of her characters hardly need to be described to make themselves felt. They touch you. "" —Gabriela Cabezón Cámara , author of THE ADVENTURES OF CHINA IRON

"Whether we are on an island or not, water is displacement, and reading this novel gently carries us through characters and places. " —Agencia Paco Urondo

"A skillfully crafted novel…Almada skilfully weaves together a vibrant and lyrical narrative." —Morning Star

"Poignant storytelling about loss and resilience." —Kirkus

"Selva Almada’s voice has made its own mark on contemporary Argentinean literature, to such an extent that situating her as a writer by referring to the Southern Gothic of authors such as Faulkner, O’Connor or McCullers are superfluous. With Not a River, she establishes her own way of looking at things in order to create literature. " —Pagina/12

"Almada is not a folkloric writer, but even so, she knows how to capture the idiosyncrasy of a region. Her characters reveal, in their parsimony, a dense inner life, plagued by existential concerns. Perhaps silence and the voices of nature take the place of possible answers. " —La Nación

"This is a narrative of great depth in which the settings (the river, fishing, the island) emerge from a very powerful poetic narration that keeps quiet more than it says aloud, that omits more than it recounts, a dreamlike voice marked by an infinite and familiar wound anchored in a dialectic between dreams and an indestructible future. " —El periódico

"In some passages of the novel, Almada seems to whisper what she is recounting rather than saying it out loud: her asymptomatic, almost invisible writing, punctuates the breathing of the sentences to create brief, beautiful images. " —El Tiempo

"It is worth asking ourselves whether, as has often been said, Selva Almada’s literature has reinvented the rural imaginary of a region of our country, or whether her task is rather to point out the contrasts and contradictions of the dominant culture, in order to indirectly confront it. " —Revista Otra Parte

"Powerful and elegantly done." —Tony's Reading List

Praise for Selva Almada
"I always read Selva Almada with devotion but NOT A RIVER is something else. I had to stand up and read it out loud in my living room. It is that good." —Samanta Schweblin.

"A major Latin American literary force." —Shelf Awareness

"Almada is forceful in her depictions of sex, violence, and rage. I feel her prose in my body: a punch in the gut, the sharpness of glass." —Chicago Review of Books

"There is a tremendous carnality to Almada’s writing, vividly captured in McDermott’s translation" —LA Review of Books

"Almada combines reportage, fiction, and autobiography to explore femicide in Argentina in her acute, unflinching latest." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"An unassuming yet intensely felt narrative. (4 stars)" —The Arts Desk

"Not an easy book, but it feels like an important one – a work of investigative writing about how easily women’s lives are obscured." —The Scotsman

"Part journalism, part history, part autobiography, part relentless nightmare." —Shelf Awareness, starred review

"Almada’s prose is sparse, but the details count. Her ear for dialogue and especially gossip is pitch perfect. Her eye for detail is hawkish." —LA Review of Books

"A powerful read, shedding a stark light on the horrors of gender violence." —The Big Issue

"A tense, precise chronicle that treats seriously a still serious subject." —El Cultural

"You’ll walk away from this book with a vivid memory of where you were, how you were feeling, and what the weather was like on the day that you read Dead Girls." —Books and Bao

"This is not a book that will make you feel at peace with the world, but that is precisely where its strength and persuasion lie." —Translating Women

"The literary quality of the text shines." —Sound and Vision

"This is a powerful read...[Almada's] effective use of fiction ensures a deep empathy in her readers which strict reportage sometimes fails to evoke." —The Big Issue

"The prose strikes a perfect tone – clinical and punchy when necessary, angry and lyrical, brutal yet humanistic." —TN2

"Challenge[s] the true crime obsession in an indirect way. " —Pendora Magazine

"What makes the book compelling is how the author explores issues of domestic violence, state complicity, machismo and family negligence, along with class and social inequalities, in a non-sentimental prose which is all the more effective as result." —Morning Star

"Genre-defying, with beautifully crafted and reflective prose." —The F Word

"The devastating conclusion of the narrator is that the women who survive are unlikely to have made it unscathed but they are lucky ones – lucky to be alive." —NB Magazine

"It is a profound novel and call to action still relevant as activists continue to take to the streets throughout Latin America to decry, ‘ni una más’ (not one more)." —The Skinny

"It’s crisp, bracing, and beautiful." —White Review

"Part coming-of-age, part detective work, partly a web of rumors, Almada’s story fuses a variety of genres to create a work that splits the seams of personal narrative, journalism, and fiction." —NACLA

"Exquisite prose that vibrates with a deep, melodious rage." —The Monthly Booking

"Recounted with a lyrical simplicity that is almost brutal." —The Oxonian Review

"Painstakingly investigated ... imbued with personal connection" —The Oxonian Review

"Fate has in Dead Girls the perfume of a Greek tragedy: immutable, irreversible, lethal." —El País

"Far from the detective story, this is an intimate tale, a certain negative of the autobiography of a young woman looking at other young women and how all of them are perceived by a society where misogyny and violence against them is still an everyday affair." —Pagina/12

"Selva Almada reinvents the imaginative rural world of a country. She is an author gifted with a very uncommon power and sensitivity." —Rolling Stone (Argentina)

"Gripping, shocking and sad." —The Book Satchel

"Dead Girls is a brutal, necessary story in which Almada describes the crimes, states the facts and lays bare the horror of these femicides." —Tony's Reading List

Edinburgh International Book Festival First book Award (Winner)
Book Cover of the Year (Saltire Awards) (Winner)

"Like Flannery O’Connor and Juan Rulfo, Almada fills her taut, eerie novel with an understanding of rural life, loneliness, temptation and faith." —BBC Culture

"Billed as a ‘promising voice’ in Latin American literature, this tale delivers readily on that promise." —Booklist

"The drama of this refreshingly unpredictable debut . . . smolders like a lit fuse waiting to touch off its well-orchestrated events. . . . A stimulating, heady story." —Publishers Weekly

"The story packs a punch in its portraits of a man who exalts heaven and another who protests." —Kirkus

"A dynamic introduction to a major Latin American literary force." —Shelf Awareness, starred review

"[The Wind That Lays Waste] delivers exactly that compressed pressurised electricity of a gathering thunderstorm: it sparks and sputters with live-wire tension." —TANK Magazine

"The Wind That Lays Waste is elegant and stark, a kind of emblem or vision fetched from the far edges of things, arrested and stripped to its essence, as beautiful as it is unnerving. "" —Paul Harding , author of TINKERS

"The Wind That Lays Waste is a mesmerizing novel, at once strange and compelling."" —Bonnie Jo Campbell , author of MOTHERS, TELL YOUR DAUGHTERS

"The quality and resolve of her prose produce a power of suggestion that is unique to Selva Almada." —El País

"The best novel written in Argentina in the last few years? Don’t know, and don’t care, but you must read Selva Almada." —El País

"Almada’s prose has a touch of the Faulkner of As I Lay Dying but passed through the filters of the dirty light of the cotton fields and the clean clothes worn by country people to Sunday mass."" —Germán Machado

"A distinctive debut: atmospheric, tension-packed, and written in vivid, poetic language." —Books from Scotland

"Perhaps most powerful in the book is Almada’s focus on detail―she skillfully renders the story of a day in brief chapters that reveal the thoughts and fleeting encounters of characters, who are largely living inside themselves." —Ploughshares

"Almada’s nuanced approach leaves room to explore her characters’ pasts in some detail, but, crucially, these individuals . . . are not defined by their mistakes." —ZYZZYVA

"What seems fantastical soon turns hyper-realistic, in a style that is reminiscent of Juan Rulfo or Sara Gallardo." —La Nación

"A successful riff on a classic Shakespearean tale." —Publishers Weekly

"Such is Almada’s command of shape and pace, and the clean-edged vigour of the style McDermott voices with such skill, that we take Brickmakers on its own uncompromising terms – as pulp, tragedy and epic all at once." —The Arts Desk

"Almada is forceful in her depictions of sex, violence, and rage. I feel her prose in my body: a punch in the gut, the sharpness of glass. McDermott’s translation captures the bite of Almada’s sentences, which render both tenderness and violence with devastating clarity." —Chicago Review of Books

"Almada's breathtaking multigenerational tragedy is a haunting, unforgettable examination of the lasting consequences of careless inhumanity." —Shelf Awareness, starred review

"Best books of 2021" —The Financial Times

"There is a tremendous carnality to Almada’s writing, vividly captured in McDermott’s translation" —LA Review of Books

"A rich, confident and urgent read." —Lunate

"Brickmakers is one of the best books I've read this year ... It’s a brilliant, sizzling, unmissable treat" —Translating Women


ISBN: 9781913867454

Dimensions: unknown

Weight: unknown

99 pages