Nominated by:

Biblioteca Daniel Cosío Villegas / El Colegio de México, A.C., Mexico City

Publisher of nominated edition:

Published by Yale University Press, USA


Rodrigo Rey Rosa      

Translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews

2016 Longlist

“Right from the start I picked her for a thief, although that day she didn’t take anything… I knew she’d be back,” the narrator/bookseller of Severina recalls in this novel’s opening pages. Imagine a dark-haired book thief as alluring as she is dangerous. Imagine the mesmerized bookseller secretly tracking the volumes she steals, hoping for insight into her character, her motives, her love life. In Rodrigo Rey Rosa’s hands, this tale of obsessive love is told with almost breathless precision and economy. The bookstore owner is soon entangled in Severina’s mystery: seductive and peripatetic, of uncertain nationality, she steals books to actually read them and to share with her purported grandfather, Señor Blanco.

In this unsettling exploration of the alienating and simultaneously liberating power of love, the bookseller’s monotonous existence is rocked by the enigmatic Severina. As in a dream, the disoriented man finds that the thin border between rational and irrational is no longer reliable.

(from publisher)

About the Author

Rodrigo Rey Rosa is perhaps the most prominent writer on the Guatemalan literary scene. Rey Rosa’s fiction has been widely translated and internationally acclaimed. His books include Dust on Her Tongue, The Beggar’s Knife, and The Pelcari Project, all of which were translated into English by the late Paul Bowles. In addition to his many novels and story collections, Rey Rosa has translated books by many authors.

About the Translator

Chris Andrews teaches at the University of Western Sydney and is a prize-winning poet. He has translated the works of numerous Latin American authors, among them Roberto Bolaño and César Aira.

Librarian’s Comments

Work translated into English, Italian and Polish. The author in 2004 received the National Literature Prize Miguel Ángel Asturias.

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