The Curriculum Vitae of Aurora Ortiz by Almudena Solana
Highly acclaimed in Spain and stylishly translated by David Frye, this warmly written debut moves between Aurora's achingly solitary life in Madrid, and her return to her gorgeously evoked hometown in Galicia. There, the images are so sensual that you can almost taste puddings and feel the comfort of soapsuds and sunshine. As Aurora's voice winningly reveals the daily details and major turns of her life, the feeling of an individual struggling against the system is overwhelming. Despite the heroine's isolation, the tone is warm and inquisitive throughout. Grief and disappointment gather an unusual solidity and hopefulness around themselves as Aurora moves to restore some happiness. Free from pulp psychology, the setting is both modern and traditional - crisp folded napkins and full moons co-exist with laptops and motorbikes.
Solana creates tendrils of narrative - from the father Aurora's never met but who also lives in Madrid, to the young priest who moves to Galicia and talks with her for hours - but it's the heroine's winning voice on which this book rests. At first the suggestions of storyline which are never followed through might seem frustrating, but the images unwrap themselves so warmly that they create an intricate and engaging painting, full of possibilities.