This novel I first read post-college and again recently. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Lucía Extebarría was the first author I read in my Independent Study Contemporary Spanish Lit course. I loved how raw she was in her narrations and her characters, and although I’m not a big feminist, I think the fact that her protagonists are females struck a chord with me. This novel is no different – it’s about 4 single females and it dives into various themes of love, solitude, abandonment, jealousy, harassment, desire, and rivalries which ties all four characters together.
The 400-page novel is divided by chapters that are dedicated to each of the four women: Susi, Raquel, Elsa, and María, and follows their individual journeys. We learn about each character: their upbringing, their challenges, and their personal relationships and how they define them. Unlike most of Extebarria’s novels, although these four women are the protagonists of this novel, there are a few chapters towards the end dedicated to some of the men that they encounter or are somehow relevant to other men who some of the women (particularly Raquel) are involved with. Never do we see where all four women are present (and learn how they know each other) until the last chapter. In these final pages, we learn about the connection they share, particularly between María and Raquel. The chapters are narrated in the third person, but partially thanks to the description and certainly the dialogue, we feel like we know what the characters are thinking and feeling at all times.
If you’ve enjoyed the previous novels that I’ve recommended by Extebarria, then you will enjoy this one. As I’ve stated – there are a lot of similarities between the four protagonists in this novel with those in her other novels, but not too many where the plot is the same. The storyline is different enough to appreciate this book. Like many of her novels, it’s not translated into English, therefore I would recommend this to an advanced Spanish student in university at a minimum, given the language, style and of course, the mature topics. I enjoyed it when I read it just after university and I’ve enjoyed reading it again just now, and hopefully you will too!