Literature from Spain for Hispanists: Almudena Grandes

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“The Frozen Heart”. You approach this large volume with a bit of perplexity, fearful of getting bored or finding it redundant. Little by little, instead, you get involved in Álvaro’s emotions. He is the protagonist and narrator of events happening even before his existence and consciousness, opening a passage to an incredibly complex past and a present that requires a long journey to become comprehensible.

The meeting between Álvaro and Raquel, the woman who half-attracts him and half-makes him suspicious, with problems and contradictions, opens the way to discover hidden past events that entwine with the destiny of their two families. Memories bring up political tensions, interests and tragic figures.

The great novel by the great Spanish writer gives you the constant pleasure of reading and takes you to a journey through the inner drama of the old dictatorship in Spain, through the stories of soldiers, of losers, of exiled, and the meeting and clash between people at the time of World War Second.

With her elegant and rich language, almost Baroque in its expression, Almudena Grandes tells you about lives and events, unknown and devastating betrayals, love, memories and reconstruction of memories.

It makes you take part in the story of a little doll abandoned on a bench, and in History, with its greatest tragedies. A novel that is epic and moving at the same time, complex and extraordinarily clear and fluent.

A recommended book for those who want to practice reading a Spanish rich in nuances, a live language with a beating Frozen Heart. For translators and interpreters who have Spanish in their language combinations, but also for those who love the Spanish language and its multiple facets.

Article by Lilia Carmen Natilla, Psychiatrist and Psychiatry Professor at the University Hospital Polyclinic of Bari.