Una madre busca a una muchacha para casarla con su hijo. Como suele ocurrir, la candidata debe cumplir con ciertos requisitos, uno fundamental en este caso: estar muerta.
Su hijo lo está también y necesita compañía, de lo contrario seguirá viniendo a visitarla para robarle los recuerdos -y ya le quedan pocos. No debe ser difícil encontrar a una novia así, en un país donde lo que sobra son cadáveres de muchachas.
Óscar es fotógrafa. Su hermana gemela acaba de morir, consumida por el cáncer y por el miedo. Para lidiar con su ausencia, se vuelca en un nuevo proyecto fotográfico: hacer los retratos de dos hombres muertos hace mucho tiempo, Joseph Merrick y Alan Turing. ¿Es posible tomar la fotografía de un fantasma? ¿Es posible fotografiar a una persona sin afantasmarla?
Esta novela está habitada por presencias espectrales y vacíos pesados como el hastío. Sólo una cosa no hay, todavía: el olvido.
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Some margaritas and their ghosts
A mother looks for a bride for her son, the girl has to fulfill certain expectations, one in particular: being dead.
The son is also dead and, the mother figures, needs company, otherwise he will continue to come and steal her mind away, piece by piece. She can feel it vanish. It can’t be too hard to find a dead girl, she figures, if there’s one thing the country produces is dead women.
Óscar is a photographer. Her twin sister has just died, consumed by fear and cancer. To deal with her grief, Óscar throws herself into a new photographic project: making the portraits of two men deceased long ago: Joseph Merrick and Alan Turing. Is it possible to photograph the dead? Can one take a picture of a living person without giving them a ghostly quality?
This novel is inhabited by spectral characters and a weary emptiness. Only one thing is missing: oblivion.
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‘This extraordinary tale of sex and death … Mildew, by a gifted new Latin American writer, has weight, yet is told with a lightness Calvino would have admired.’
– Beverley Bie Brahic.
`This is a book which exists on its own terms and uses its own voice. The meshing of form with theme is uniquely well-realised, and the level of control over plot, character and dialogue is astonishingly well done. In my view Jonguitud achieves what only the best writers are capable of. She tells a local story on the smallest of canvases, but with such skill, precision and depth of honesty that the story acquires the enduring and immovable power of fable.´
-Amy McCauley. New Welsh Review.
‘It’s a novel that creeps through you, rather like the mildew that begins growing on its narrator Constanza’s body on the day before her daughter’s weddding. I didn’t realise until I started thinking back on the novel just how much it had infected my thoughts.’
– David Hebblethwaite
‘A strong, slim book on the inabilities of women to speak openly about what they are to each other, and to themselves.’
– Joanna Walsh, The National.
‘Reminiscent of some of the films of Pedro Almodovar, the story is both psychological and magical; the narrative explores womanhood, the female body, the complexity of female relationships, sex, motherhood, betrayal, ageing and ulitmately rot, as in the eponymous “mildew” – the imagery of which cleaves to the isnide of your head, as does her childhood perspective on the gardens of Hieronymous Bosch, like her Christian nuns’ teachings about hell; an aborted fetus she names “Rafael”; and the perfect body of her husband’s supposed mistress.’
– Valerie Sirr, Wales Arts Review, 2015 Highlights
`An entire history condensed into a single day, an entire family and their respective pasts brought out in quick but vivid portraits. At only 91 pages Midlew is a deceptively simple book. It’s brevity and relatively unadorned prose belie what is more layered and difficult. This is a novel with a psychological and emotional intensity that invites careful reading and re-reading, and resists immediate interpretation.’
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