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The Wind That Lays Waste

Selva Almada author Chris Andrews translator


Publisher:Charco Press

Published:9th Jul '19

Should be back in stock very soon

The Wind That Lays Waste cover

Author of International Booker Finalist Not a River

Leni crossed her arms, said nothing, and watched the fight unfold. She was like a bored onlooker at a boxing trial, wasting no energy on the undercard, saving her passion for the moment when the real champions would step into the ring. And yet, at some point, she began to cry. Just tears, without any sound. Water falling from her eyes as water was falling from the sky. Rain disappearing into rain.The Wind That Lays Waste begins in the great pause before a storm. Reverend Pearson is an evangelist preaching the word of God across northern Argentina with Leni, his teenage daughter, in tow. When their car breaks down, fate leads them to the workshop of an ageing mechanic, Gringo Brauer, and his assistant, a boy called Tapioca. Over the course of a long day, curiosity and a sense of new opportunities develop into an unexpected intimacy. Yet this encounter between a man convinced of his righteousness and one mired in cynicism and apathy will become a battle for the very souls of the young pair: the quietly earnest and idealistic mechanic’s assistant, and the restless, sceptical preacher’s daughter. As tensions among the four ebb and flow, beliefs are questioned and allegiances tested, until finally the growing storm breaks over the plains.International Booker Prize-nominated Selva Almada’s exquisitely crafted debut, with its limpid and confident prose, is profound and poetic, a near-tangible experience of the landscape amid the hot winds, wrecked cars, sweat-stained shirts and damaged lives, told with the cinematic precision of a static road movie, like a Paris, Texas of the south. With echoes of Carson McCullers, The Wind That Lays Waste is a contemplative and powerfully distinctive novel.

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

Praise for Selva Almada

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

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

"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

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

"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

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

"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

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

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

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

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

"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

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

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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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)

"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

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

ISBN: 9781916465633

Dimensions: unknown

Weight: unknown

114 pages