A Luminous Republic | Granta

  • Published: 06/08/2020
  • ISBN: 9781846276934
  • Granta Books
  • 208 pages

A Luminous Republic

Andrés Barba

Translated by Lisa Dillman

One day, the children begin to show up in the subtropical town of San Cristóbal. Aged between nine and thirteen, the children are covered in dirt and hungry. They beg food, commit small acts of vandalism, play games that don’t seem to have any rules, and communicate with each other in a strange language. No one knows where they come from or where they disappear to each night. And then, they rob a supermarket and stab two adults, bringing fear to the town. Thus begins a fearsome and thrilling modern morality tale that retraces the lines between good and evil, the civilised and the wild, and drags our assumptions about childhood and innocence out into the light.

A Luminous Republic has all the stark power of a folk-tale or a fable. It also raises concerns that are pressing and contemporary-about the function and source of language, about public paranoia and hysteria, about the idea of community and how information spreads. At the book's center is a moving personal story about memory and loss. The narrative is engaging, at times playful, wholly compelling

Colm Tóibín

At first you will feel fear, but what you feel next is something much deeper, disturbing and luminous

Samanta Schweblin

Disquieting without tricks and beautiful without artifice, A Luminous Republic is an engrossing tale of unusual moral precision... A triumph

Juan Gabriel Vasquez

The Author

ANDRÉS BARBA (born in Madrid in 1975), became known in 2001 with La hermana de Katia (finalist of the Herralde prize and brought to the big screen by Mijke de Jong), which was followed by eight more novels that confirmed him as one of the most important Spanish novelists of his generation: Ahora Tocad Música de Baile, Versiones de Teresa (winner of the Torrente Ballester Award), Such Small Hands, August, October, Death of a Horse (winner of the Juan March Award), En Presencia de un Payaso, and A Luminous Republic (winnder of the Herralde Award, finalist for the Gregor Von Rezzori Award). He is also the author of several essays, poetry and he has translated into Spanish the works of authors including Herman Melville, Henry James, Joseph Conrad and Thomas De Quincey. He was chosen by Granta magazine as one of the best young Spanish-language storytellers. His work has been translated into twenty four languages.

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The Translator

LISA DILLMAN is a senior lecturer at Emory University. She won the 2016 Best Translated Book Award for Yuri Herrera’s Signs Preceding the End of the World and the 2018 Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize for her translation of Such Small Hands.

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From the Same Author

Such Small Hands

Andrés Barba, translated by Lisa Dillman

Her father died instantly, her mother in the hospital.

She has learned to say this flatly and without emotion, the way she says her name (Marina), her doll’s name (also Marina) and her age (seven). Her parents were killed in a car crash and now she lives in the orphanage with the other little girls. But Marina is not like the other little girls.

In the curious, hyperreal, feverishly serious world of childhood, Marina and the girls play games of desire and warfare. The daily rituals of playtime, lunchtime and bedtime are charged with a horror; horror is licked by the dark flames of love. When Marina introduces the girls to Marina the Doll, she sets in motion a chain of events from which there can be no release.

With shades of Daphne du Maurier, Shirley Jackson, Guillermo Del Toro and Mariana Enríquez, Such Small Hands is a beautifully controlled tour-de-force, a bedtime story to keep readers awake.

Andrés Barba on Granta.com

In Conversation | The Online Edition

Andrés Barba on Such Small Hands

Andrés Barba & Josie Mitchell

Granta’s Josie Mitchell talked to Andrés Barba about his new book, Such Small Hands, Gothic and Greek Literature, and how he approaches writing from a child's perspective.

Essays & Memoir | The Online Edition

Introducing Javier Arancibia Contreras

Andrés Barba

‘In this story, the troubled translator’s only interlocutor is, of course, a rat with human vices and traits.’

Fiction | Granta 113

The Coming Flood

Andrés Barba

‘When it happens, she gets the feeling that the men, for her, are a way to cling to life.’