“Cristina-Sánchez-Andrade is, simply, one of the best writers in Spain. Her language is vastly rich. A memorable narration. A flawless and unusual novel.” —El Correo Gallego
Galicia, Spain’s northwest region, in the 1950s. After a childhood in exile, two sisters return to their grandfather’s cottage for the first time since his shocking murder during the civil war. “The Winterlings” try to keep their dark secrets buried and carve out a peaceful existence in Tierra de Chá, an idyllic village host to a cast of grotesque but charming characters: a powerful psychic, a madman who believes he is a bus, a woman who refuses to die and the obese priest who heaves up a steep hill each day to give her last rites, a cross-dressing dentist who plants the teeth of the deceased in his patients’ mouths.
Tension mounts when the sisters, once united by their passion for Hollywood cinema, compete for the chance to stand in for Ava Gardner in the nearby filming of Pandora and the Flying Dutchman. Meanwhile, a mutual suspicion develops between the mysterious sisters and the eccentric villagers: Why have the women returned, and what are they hiding? What perverse business arrangement did the townspeople make with their grandfather, and why won’t they speak of his death?
Enchanting as a spell, The Winterlings blends Spanish oral tradition, Latin American magic realism, and the American gothic fiction of Flannery O’Connor and Shirley Jackson into an intoxicating story of romance, violent history, and the mysterious forces that move us.
Cristina Sánchez-Andrade (Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 1968) is the author of eight novels, including Ya no pisa la tierra tu rey (Your King No Longer Walks this Earth), which won the Guadalajara International Book Fair’s prestigious Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz literary prize in 2005, and Las Inviernas (The Winterlings), which was a finalist for the Herralde Novel Prize in 2013. Her work has been translated into English, Portuguese, Italian, Polish and Russian. She lives in Madrid.
“The Winterlings reads like poetry and is filled with sly, sensuous charm and everyday magic . . . [it] blends Old World oral storytelling tradition, elements of magical realism, and hints of American gothic style and has been carefully translated from the original Spanish. Though the story is slow in unfolding, readers who appreciate beautiful prose will enjoy the novel’s sleepy-town setting, colorful characters, and strange happenings.“
—Emily Brock, Booklist
“An engaging slice of magical demi-realism, Cristina Sanchez-Andrade's The Winterlings (Restless Books) tells the story of the Winterlings, two sisters who have returned to the out-of-time village of Tierra de Cha years after their grandfather's murder during the Spanish Civil War…. Packed with sly wit, enchanting snippets of Flannery O'Connor-style gothic fantasy and period rural detail, Sanchez-Andrade's novel is a captivating read. A reminder in itself that a mélange of fascinating humanity can reside in the most removed of places: something worth remembering in an age where whole populations can get openly and broadly stereotyped based on their land of origin.”
—Bill Sherman, SeattlePost-Intelligencer
“Sánchez-Andrade's dark humor and simple language befit the magical-realist realm of this enigmatic tale about how the repercussions of human action, however ancient, can re-emerge at unpredictable times.”
—Carla-Rosa Manfredino, Times Literary Supplement
“Every month I’m confronted by at least a few titles that catch me with my proverbial pants down. The Winterlings was one of these, somehow balancing the blunt and the sentimental, making you feel all the feels despite your best intentions, and captivating from beginning to end.”
—M. Bartley Seigel, Words without Borders
“[The Winterlings] satisfies on multiple levels, uses a wide lens to observe the difficulties of returning home only to encounter a community still pickled in the past . . . Sánchez-Andrade keeps it real . . . She references an oral storytelling tradition in the family passed down through her aunts, and she thanks her mother for helping her search for family memories. Chekov famously told writers that if they hang a rifle on a wall in chapter one, the rifle must go off in chapter two or three. That Sánchez-Andrade deliciously substitutes an octopus for a rifle says something for her ingenious novel, full of eccentric details that anchor it to a very specific reality.”
—Priyanka Kumar, Santa Fe New Mexican
“The enigmatic characters and storylines prod the reader about the deeper, darker aspects of what it is to be human. Sánchez-Andrade’s writing is lyrical, never dull, and a joy to read. Details and dialogue are spare and well-chosen—tragic, humorous, often jarring. Every page contains surprises. The Winterlings is hard to put down and harder to forget.”