the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘Ray Loriga’ Category

Originally published in Spanish in 2017,  Ray Loriga’s novel Surrender won the Alfaguara literary prize that year. Thanks to the translation talents of Carolina de Roberts, Surrender is now available in English.  I picked up a free ARC of this novel at ConFusion.

 

I find I don’t mind not being told everything up front.  Author wants to drop me in the deep end, and explain stuff later, or not explain things later? I’m ok with that.  But I know not everyone is.

 

If you prefer stories with lots of specific worldbuilding and world politics that are explained in detail, if you want a clear resolution at the end,  if you need things to be named and categorized, Surrender by Ray Loriga is not for you. Loriga doesn’t even tell you people’s names. The more you need to know about a world to enjoy that world,  the less this book is for you.

 

Surrender reads as if you are half in a dream,  what is right in front of you is in sharp focus, but everything else feels misty and of minimal importance.  Told in first person, the unnamed narrator tells us what is most important to him – how much he loves his wife,  how they met, their farm and the village they live in, and the rare letters they receive from their sons who are off fighting a foreign war. Their village is near the front, and when a mute and injured little boy wanders onto their property, the narrator and his wife unofficially adopt the little boy.

 

The narrator is passionate and kind,  he is pleased with his life, he doesn’t have many complaints. He effectively pulls the reader into his world.

 

The war is going badly,  and the village is evacuated.  Everyone is told to pack one suitcase and to hop on busses that will take everyone to the safety of the Transparent City.  No need to bring much, as the City will provide food, clothing, and housing. You and your children will be safe there.

 

The city is being evacuated,  residents are told to burn their homes so the enemy can’t use them for shelter, people are hoarding water and supplies. And yet, the unnamed narrator and his family seem perfectly calm. He places full trust in the government, because why wouldn’t you?

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.