Slash and Burn
Claudia Hernandez, Julia Sanches
Through war and its aftermaths, a woman fights to keep her daughters safe. Like peasants through the ages, she desperately slashes and burns in order to make a place for her children to return to.
A country girl sees her village sacked and her beloved father disappeared. She is taken to the mountains to join the guerrillas, who force her to give up the baby she conceives. Surviving the rebellion, and now a woman, she sets out to find her daughter, travelling across the Atlantic with meagre resources. She returns to a community in which civilians, the militia and the ex-guerrilla fighters have to live together in a society riddled with distrust, fear and hypocrisy.
Hernandez’s narrators have the level gaze of ordinary women reckoning with extraordinary hardship. Denouncing the ruthless machismo of combat with quiet intelligence, Slash and Burn creates a suspenseful, slow-burning revelation of rural life in the aftermath of political trauma.
'Claudia Hernandez's extraordinary novel Slash and Burn has an embattled, unsentimental narrative style, with swift shifts of point of view to voices that are often telling her characters what isn't possible, and a future tense that dramatizes the (im)possibilities for her and her family. Slash and Burn is destined to become a classic.' Mauro Javier Cardenas ----'Claudia Hernandezs Slash and Burn, the first book of her monumental trilogy of post-Civil War El Salvador, reimagines the country through the voices of mothers, daughters and wives. The female gaze cuts sharp in this retelling.' Gabriela Aleman ----'There is a surreal, dreamlike quality to this challenging story. Devoid of names or places, it abounds with memories of violence told in a third-person bordering on the first, both because of the randomness of events depicted and the naivety and warmth of the language that recounts the almost child-like aspects of the war, always through eyes and a voice that are, above all, feminine.'The Spanish Bookstage, "Weekly Choice" ----"It is astonishing that someone can write in such a clean and transparent way about a turbulent past. Claudia Hernandez's prose is the controlled breathing of someone who knows that memory is another battlefield. Claudia Hernandez, like her protagonists, lucid and tough women, knows how to cross these battlefields. Slash and Burn confirms that she is one of the best writers in our language." Yuri Herrera, author of The Transmigration of Bodies ----'Claudia Hernandez is one of the most groundbreaking short story writers from Central America, with a way of approaching the story that is closer to Virgilio Pinera o Felisberto Hernandez than to the realist tradition. Her five story collections prove this. Now, with her first novel, Claudia Hernandez takes on a new challenge: telling the recent history of El Salvador through three generations of women scarred by civil war, poverty and emigration. A pulsating feminine universe, full of strength and courage, in permanent wait of the violence that surrounds it. An intense and moving novel, and a very revealing way of storytelling that will captivate the reader.' Horacio Castellanos Moya, author of The Dream of My Return
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