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El contenido del silencio, Lucía Extebarria

This is another excellent novel of Extebarria, and quite different from some of the other ones I’ve recommended.  While it does explore romantic relationships, it really emphasizes a new topic: cults.  Not only what they are, but how they form and their effect on the few people who have the strength to leave them and survive them.  The book starts in London, where Gabriel, the protagonist, discovers that his sister, Cordelia, has gone missing.  He therefore flies to the Canary Islands (where most of the book takes place) to try to find her and understand what her life was like for the past ten years (since their last interaction).  This novel takes you through many stages of the process of looking for a loved one who disappeared: paralyzing fear, anxiety, denial, depression, anger, and acceptance.   


One thing about this novel that I enjoyed was the descriptive landscapes described of a few of the Canary Islands.  In fact, while reading it, it inspired me to visit one of the islands it takes place in, Fuerteventuna, to visit one of the prettiest beaches where several chapters of the novel take place: Jandía.  And who knows: you may feel like doing the same! 


Another important aspect is the theme of relationships.  This drives the entire storyline, in fact.  As the novel went on, one recurring example was how each relationship was never just between two people, but three.  Amongst the characters, we constantly see throughout the novel love triangles, almost all of which involve Gabriel.  We learn and begin to understand the emotional intricacies and the effects these situations have on the characters.  This is a thrilling and captivating part of the novel, and I have to applaud Etxebarria.  Although she does dive into the cult culture around the Canary Islands and beyond, her books always revolve around relationships, and typically the protagonist is a woman.  Although in this case she chose a man, she once again made women the focal point of this book, as the entire plot line revolves around the whereabouts of Cordelia.   


If you enjoyed my other Extebarria recommendations, then I’m sure you will devour this novel!  This is only appropriate for university-level students for the language and the content.  I read it years later and truly appreciated it, especially after having read the other three novels of Extebarria that I’ve reviewed on here.  It’s worth the wait! 



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