When I Sing, Mountains Dance | Granta

  • Published: 03/03/2022
  • ISBN: 9781783787142
  • Granta Books
  • 208 pages

When I Sing, Mountains Dance

Irene Solà

Translated by Mara Faye Lethem

When Domenec – mountain-dweller, father, poet, dreamer – dies suddenly, struck by lightning, he leaves behind two small children, Mia and Hilari, to grow up wild among the looming summits of the Pyrenees and the ghosts of the Spanish civil war.

But then Hilari dies too, and his sister is forced to face life’s struggles and joys alone. As the years tumble by, the inhabitants of the mountain – human, animal and other – come together in a chorus of voices to bear witness to the sorrows of one family, and to the savage beauty of the landscape. This remarkable English-language debut is lyrical, mythical, elemental, and ferociously imaginative.

When I Sing, Mountains Dance made me swoon. Translated with great musicality and wit, it is rich and ranging, shimmering with human and non-human life, the living and the dead, in our time and deep time; a fable that is utterly universal, deadly funny and profoundly moving

Max Porter

There's so much beauty in this wonderful polyphonic novel. Each page makes you fall in love again with nature, with imagination, with words, with life. When I Sing, Mountains Dance is timeless and unique

Mariana Enríquez

Like nothing I've read before. This novel is a feral, yowling love howl to a place of such staggering majesty that it resists usual comprehension. By giving voice to animals, storms, outcasts, one-legged girls, birthing women, and the mountain itself, Solà pushes past the limits of human experience to tell a story of instinct and earth-time that is irresistible in its jagged glory.

C Pam Zhang, author of How Much of These Hills is Gold

The Author

Irene Solà is a Catalan writer and artist, winner of the European Union Prize for Literature, the Documenta Prize for first novels, the Llibres Anagrama Prize, and the Amadeu Oller Poetry Prize. Her artwork has been exhibited in the Whitechapel Gallery.

More about the author →

The Translator

Mara Faye Lethem’s recent translations include Don’t Shed Your Tears for Anyone Who Lives on These Streets by Patricio Pron, Learning to Talk to Plants by Marta Orriols and The Adventures and Misadventures of the Extraordinary and Admirable Joan Orpí, Conquistador and Founder of New Catalonia by Max Besora. Forthcoming is When I Sing, Mountains Dance by Irene Solà.

More about the translator →

Irene Solà on Granta.com

In Conversation | The Online Edition

In Conversation

Eva Baltasar & Irene Solà

‘The tide carries my books from my head to a place that is no longer mine.’

The authors discuss friendship, the sea and finishing their novels.

Poetry | The Online Edition

Five Poems

Irene Solà

‘I wore off my tongue / like candy’ Translated from the Catalan by Oscar Holloway.