Such Small Hands
One of the Guardian Best Books of 2017
"Every once in a while a novel does not record reality but creates a whole new reality, one that casts a light on our darkest feelings. Kafka did that. Bruno Schulz did that. Now the Spanish writer Andrés Barba has done it with the terrifying Such Small Hands."--Edmund White
Life changes at the orphanage the day seven-year-old Marina shows up. She is different from the other girls: at once an outcast and object of fascination. As Marina struggles to find her place, she invents a game whose rules are dictated by a haunting violence. Written in hypnotic, lyrical prose, alternating between Marina's perspective and the choral we of the other girls, Such Small Hands evokes the pain of loss and the hunger for acceptance.
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About the Author
Andrés Barba is the one the most lauded contemporary Spanish writers. He is the author of twelve books, including August, October and Rain Over Madrid. In addition to literary fiction, he has written essays, poems, books of photography, and translations of De Quincey and Melville. His books have been translated into ten languages.
Lisa Dillman translates from Spanish and Catalan and teaches in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Emory University. Some of her recent translations include Signs Preceding the End of the World, by Yuri Herrera, which won the 2016 Best Translated Book Award; Rain Over Madrid, by Andrés Barba; Monastery, co-translated with Daniel Hahn, by Eduardo Halfon; and Salting the Wound, by Víctor del Árbol.
Edmund White has written biographies of Jean Genet, Marcel Proust, and Arthur Rimbaud. He has also written several novels; the most recent is Our Young Man. He teaches creative writing at Princeton.
"Barba inhabits the minds of children with an exactitude that seems to me so uncanny as to be almost sinister."--Sarah Perry, the Guardian
"Barba is intensely alive to the shifting, even Janus-faced nature of strong feeling."--San Francisco Chronicle
"Such Small Hands is a magnificently chilling antidote to society's reverence for ideas of infantile innocence and purity."--Financial Times
"Barba's stunning and beautiful prose helps us realize that our adult incomprehension is not absolute."--Los Angeles Review of Books
"Each one of these pages is exquisite, and the end result is a perfectly expressed work that transmits the perverse and bizarre experience that is youth, where games signify life and death and where relationships are teased and pushed to the breaking point."--Music & Literature
"A lyrically rich and devastating portrayal of adolescent struggle."--ZYZZYVA
"A darkly evocative work about young girls, grief, and the unsettling, aching need to belong."&mdas;Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"Barba explores what the dynamics of an orphanage reveal about any insular community and the trials of its inevitable outcast."--Idra Novey, author of Ways to Disappear
"Andrés Barba needs no advice. He has already created a world that is perfectly realized and has a craft that is inappropriate for a writer of his age."--Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature
"In my opinion, Barba has become an essential writer."--Rafael Chirbes, author of On the Edge
"Andrés Barba is one of several impressive writers from Spain at work on fiction that brilliantly dissects the business of being alive."--Eileen Battersby, The Irish Times
"An unsettling, tightly controlled book."--Stephen Sparks, Green Apple Books (San Francisco)
"Such Small Hands is a stick of dynamite. Nothing like having your world rearranged in two sittings."--Mark Haber, Brazos Bookstore (Houston)
"I don't think I've ever read such a massively tiny book. A poignant and truly gratifying novel."--Nick Buzanski, Book Culture (New York)
"In stunning prose, Andrés Barba probes the fissures that words stitch together long enough to form a scar. Love, hate, trauma--they're tightly coiled in Such Small Hands into that most universal of scars, childhood, and the results, also like childhood, are unsettling."--Brad Johnson, Diesel, A Bookstore (Oakland)
"Andrés Barba's magnificent novel will haunt you, and continue to haunt you when you least expect it."--Caitlin Luce Baker, University Book Store (Seattle)