The Winterlings


A strange tale indeed, this one.

If you’ve seen Pan’s Labyrinth, you’ll know that it’s perfectly possible to mix the brutal history of the Spanish Civil War, magical realism, a tight rural community that blends into the wooded mountains and a little girl’s perspective, to fantastically powerful effect.

This book does all that, but very differently, seemingly more quietly, and it takes a longer view.

The eponymous Winterlings are two sisters who spent a large part of their childhood as evacuees in Southampton. When they return to their home village in Galicia, it takes time to uncover the violence that made them flee. They both dream of becoming film stars, but how can they shake off the weight of the past?

As one sister says to the other: “Do you remember what your grandfather used to say about how a bad thought or an unfulfilled desire always ends up festering until it becomes an illness?”

This tale tells how that can happen. Cristina Sánchez-Andrade gets inside the heads of two adult sisters as they reach middle age together, with nobody else in the world but each other. The language is natural and direct: it feels like you are thinking their thoughts.

“For a while, their hands intertwined in the soapy water, seeking each other out like fish, brushing against each other. ‘Are they my fingers or yours?’ said one Winterling. ‘What difference does it make?’ answered the other, after some thought. They both started laughing.”

This is Samuel Rutter’s first book translation, and it is brilliant. I’m looking forward to see what he does next. There’s much more to be translated by Sánchez-Andrade. I’m waiting!

Translator, editor, writer, reader

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in books, history, translation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

advent Alice in Wonderland American And Other Stories Antonia Lloyd-Jones Arabic Argentina Beowulf Berlin Best Translated Book Award Bible books Brazil Brazilian Portuguese British British Library Buddhism Catalan Children's Books China Chinese Christmas Christmas Carols Contemporary Czesław Miłosz Danish Dari David Hackston Dublin Literary Award English Estonian Fantasy Farsi Fiction Finland Finland 100 Finlandia Prize Finnish Flemish Free Word Centre French George Szirtes German Greek Hebrew Herbert Lomas Herta Müller history Hungarian Iceland Idioms Illustration India international International Translation Day Irish Gaelic Italian J. R. R. Tolkien Japanese Jenny Erpenbeck Johanna Sinisalo Korean Language language learning Languages Latin Literature Lola Rogers Lord of the Rings Mabinogion Man Booker International Prize Maori Maria Turtschaninoff Moomins New Year Nobel Prize Nobel Prize for Literature Norwegian Old English Olga Tokarczuk Owen Witesman Oxford English Dictionary Penguin PEN Translation Prize Persian Philip Boehm Phoneme Media Poetry Poetry Translation Centre Polish Portuguese Pushkin Press Queer Romanian Rosa Liksom Russian Salla Simukka Second World War Short Stories Sofi Oksanen Spanish Stanisław Barańczak Suomi100 Susan Bernofsky Svetlana Alexievich Swedish Switzerland Thomas Teal Tibetan Tove Jansson transation Translation translator Translators Without Borders Valentine's Day Wales Warsaw Welsh Wisława Szymborska Witold Szabłowski Women in Translation Month words Words without Borders writing YA

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow found in translation on
%d bloggers like this: