This novel, written by the famous Spanish author, Lucía Extebarría, is one of my favorite books of hers. I first read it in college and then again recently, able to appreciate the work even more now that my Spanish is much stronger. What I love about this author is that she is never afraid to expose her protagonists, who on the outside seem strong and independent, as vulnerable women who crave true love and companionship.
This novel is no different. Our protagonist, Ruth Swanson, is not your typical Spanish woman. Firstly, her looks alone make one believe she’s from a Celtic background, which she owes to her deceased mother. Secondly, her success story sets her apart from any ordinary individual, as the first film she ever wrote and directed turned into a complete hit. Constantly surrounded by admirers, it’s hard to believe that someone so famous is so fragile and lonely. And then she meets Juan, a young writer trying to make a name for himself in the big city.
If you’ve ever been in a tumultuous and abusive relationship, then this book will resonate with you. A relationship that buds between Ruth and Juan, which started as passionate and loving, quickly turns into a toxic love-hate labyrinth that neither party can escape. As Extebarría warns her readers on the first page, this book is about love and lies. We see this unfold first-hand in the 541 pages that outline the two main characters’ lives, careers, and emotions as they embark in the unhealthiest relationship that they’ve ever known. Can they break the vicious cycle of manipulation, jealousy, and deceit? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
This book is intended for adults with a thorough command of the Spanish language. As stated earlier, I was able to enjoy the novel now that I’ve studied and taught Spanish years after university, and thus suggest waiting until acquiring Spanish fluency, as this book is well worth the wait.