Dogs of Summer
Andrea Abreu, Julia Sanches
Translated by Julia Sanches.
‘A rich and prophetic world of women and low, grey clouds that merge with the sea. Pure poetry’ Pilar Quintana
‘Andrea Abreu is a lively meteorite in the landscape of Hispanic Literature’ Fernanda Melchor
‘I am overwhelmed. What a marvellous book, what a miracle’ Sara Mesa
It is June and Shit is sad. She knows she will not get to leave her neighbourhood that summer, and the beach is far, far away. And that clouds like the bottom of a donkey’s belly will hover all summer over her town, high among the volcanoes of northern Tenerife.
But Shit – our nine-year-old narrator – has a best friend, Isora. Shit likes everything about Isora. The colour of her arms and her hair and her eyes. Her handwriting and the way she wrote the letter g with a huge tail. The way she called her shit because poop was a beautiful thing like the mist round the pines. But she envies her too. Envies her grits and gut. The way she talks to grown ups. The fact that she had got her period and had pubes on her minky.
As the summer goes on, Shit finds it increasingly hard to keep up with Isora – one year older and growing up at full tilt without her. When Shit’s submissiveness veers into obsession and a painful sexual awakening, desire becomes indistinguishable from intimate violence. Braiding prose poetry with bachata lyrics and the gritty humour of Canary dialect, Dogs of Summer is a brutal picture of girlhood in the 90s and a story, told with exquisite yearning, of a friendship that simmers into erotic desire over the course of one hot summer.
Bold, dazzling, hilarious. Andrea Abreu is a lively meteorite in the landscape of Hispanic Literature -- Fernanda Melchor, author of International Booker-shortlisted Hurricane Season Like the tide. A force of nature. It drags you. It submerges you. And, all of a sudden, it leaves you stranded on a rich and prophetic insular world of women and low, grey, clouds that merge with the sea. It is pure poetry. A book that carries you and makes you feel a place -- Pilar Quintana Andrea Abreu's characters, like her sentences, are bold and wild. Reminiscent of Marieke Lucas Rijneveld's The Discomfort of Evening, Abreu's writing twirls and clacks with tactile precision, like winding a cassette tape with a No. 2 pencil. I'll return to Dogs of Summer whenever I crave a searing, brutal shot of life -- Gabriella Burnham, author of It is Wood, It is Stone I am overwhelmed. What a marvelous book, what a miracle -- Sara Mesa, author of Among the Hedges Andrea turns up a notch, or turns it up ten times, in this rescue of poetic tremendismo (expressionist dirty realism). A political book: for the world that has never been given a voice before, and most of all for the phonetical shamelessness, for the syntactical violence, for the incorrectness, the localisms, the linguistic variety, because Andrea Abreu writes for her body and from her body -- Marta Sanz It describes the state of things without beating around the bush giving way to the purest form of tenderness, innocence, and care ... It intertwines the feeling of the first love with the pain that comes with growing up -- Brenda Navarro, author of Empty Houses Dogs of Summer weaves a powerful narrative, where bodies and hunger take over the story. It transports us to the threshold of puberty, to face a disturbing procession of fears, euphoria and daily violence. An unsweetened and unprejudiced portrait of poverty. Pure life -- Irene Vallejo, author of Papyrus Shit. My brain just exploded. What a marvel -- Marta Orriols Razor sharp and mesmerizing, Dogs of Summer will thump through your heart and mind. A novel that consumes and sentences to die for -- Amina Cain, author of Indelicacy This slim novel's scope and intensity are shockingly, magnificently large, and the sentences blast off the pages with all the sordidness and wonder of early adolescence. Readers will be unable to resist the spell of Dogs of Summer, a hilarious, devastating story that is brilliantly attuned to the erotics of friendship, the intoxicating muddle of identification and desire, and the power of both the sublime and the profane. The unforgettable girls at the center of Andrea Abreu's moving debut are two of the liveliest fictional creations I've come across in quite a long time -- Jamel Brinkley, author of A Lucky Man Andrea Abreu's characters, like her sentences, are bold and wild. Reminiscent of Marieke Lucas Rijneveld's The Discomfort of Evening, Abreu's writing twirls and clacks with tactile precision, like winding a cassette tape with a No. 2 pencil. I'll return to Dogs of Summer whenever I crave a searing, brutal shot of life -- Gabriella Burnham, author of It is Wood, It is Stone Dogs of Summer shows girlhood as it really was: brutal and tender, intimate and lonely, magical and utterly gross. I loved it -- Anna Beecher, author of Here Comes the Miracle Nothing else matters in the world of Dogs of Summer other than what these two girls mean to each other. Every crushing, toxic, excruciating, loving, difficult and unboundaried female friendship came hurtling back to me in a tumultuous wave while reading this book, all the sores and salves of a coming-of-age relationship are here in details that feel almost too sacred to be told, but universalised in their telling. I have a new favourite writer, I will read everything she writes. I love it, I love it, I love it! -- Rachael Allen, author of Kingdomland
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