Espido Freire: Irlanda (Irlanda)


The latest addition to my website is Espido Freire‘s Irlanda (Irlanda). Freire’s first novel is the only one of her novels to be translated into English. It tells the story of Natalia, a teenage girl whose sister, Sagrario, dies at the the beginning of the novel, after a long illness. She is invited to spend the summer with her cousins, Irlanda, three months older than her, and Roberto, quite a bit older. They live in a separate house on the parents’ property. This property used to belong to her grandparents but her mother sold her share to her sister and her sister’s husband, as they needed the money, so there is very much the sense of being the poor relations. Natalia does not fit very well with her cousin and their friends. Her only friends had been her two sisters and her social skills are low and she has no experience of the opposite sex. She spends much of the time on her own, in a dream world. More particularly, she talks regularly to her dead sister, whom she considers as very much alive and she sees everything as though the world is a fairy tale, from mysterious forests to strange creatures and knights in shining armour. When Gabriel, Roberto’s friend, shows an interest in her, she does not how to react but she does know how to react when he spurns her for the more attractive and lively Irlanda. This is an excellent novel about dealing with growing up and dealing with the death of a loved one, with a sharp edge to it. Interestingly enough, it has been published in English by a publisher I had not heard of before: Fairy Tale Review Press, but do not let that put you off.

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