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Synopsis

"Andrés Barba needs no introduction. He has his own intentional world perfectly contained and a literary gift that belies his age." -Mario Vargas Llosa

"A story that has been described as an explosive clash between Pavese's The Beautiful Summer and the adolescents of Gus van Sant's Elephant."-Daniel Entrialgo, Esquire

"A new Spanish great, that’s all I need to say." -Lire

Fourteen-year-old Tomás goes with his well-off family on their usual seaside summer holiday, but he is at a stage in his life when nothing is the same. Sullenly detached from them, full of confused intimations of sexuality, he is also faced with death when his widowed aunt, who lives in the resort, is taken seriously ill. As he becomes close to her on her deathbed he frequents the forbidden in the form of some lower-class village kids-casually transgressive boys and even more alien, sexually knowing girls-that will get him involved on the last day in a gang rape of a retarded girl. Though when it is his turn, Tomás only pretends to do it-enough to save face with the boys. Back in Madrid, he wrestles with guilt and confusion. He finally decides to go back secretly, alone, to find the girl and apologize for what happened, but despite the moving scene of atonement and forgiveness, ambiguity lurks even in this redemption.

Andrés Barba is a multi-awarded Spanish novelist, essayist, translator, scriptwriter and photographer. He is the author of a total of thirteen books of literary fiction, non-fiction, photography, arts, and children's literature.

Lisa Dillman translates from SPanish and Catalan and teaches at Emory University in Atlanta.

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