Every once in a while a novel does not record reality but creates a whole new reality, one that casts a light on our darkest feelings. Kafka did that. Bruno Schulz did that. Now the Spanish writer Andrés Barba has done it with the terrifying Such Small Hands.”Edmund White
Life changes at the orphanage the day seven-year-old Marina shows up. She is different from the other girls: at once an outcast and object of fascination. As Marina struggles to find her place, she invents a game whose rules are dictated by a haunting violence. Written in hypnotic, lyrical prose, alternating between Marina’s perspective and the choral we of the other girls, Such Small Hands evokes the pain of loss and the hunger for acceptance.
ANDRÉS BARBA first became known in 2001 when his novel La hermana de Katia, shortlisted for the Herralde Prize, was published to considerable public and critical acclaim. It was followed by Ahora tocad música de baile, Versiones de Teresa, winner of the Torrente Ballester award, and Agosto, octubre, Muerte de un caballo, for which he won the 2011 Juan March short novel award, Ha dejado de llover, and his latest work, En presencia de un payaso. His books have been translated into ten languages.
LISA DILLMAN translates from Spanish and Catalan and teaches in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Emory University. Some of her recent translations include Signs Preceding the End of the World, by Yuri Herrera, which won the 2016 Best Translated Book Award; Such Small Hands and Rain Over Madrid, by Andrés Barba; Monastery, co-translated with Daniel Hahn, by Eduardo Halfon; and Salting the Wound, by Víctor del Árbol.
"Barba inhabits the minds of children with an exactitude that seems to me so uncanny as to be almost sinister."—Sarah Perry, the Guardian
"Barba is intensely alive to the shifting, even Janus-faced nature of strong feeling."—San Francisco Chronicle
"Such Small Hands is a magnificently chilling antidote to society’s reverence for ideas of infantile innocence and purity."—Financial Times
"Barba’s stunning and beautiful prose helps us realize that our adult incomprehension is not absolute."—Los Angeles Review of Books
"Each one of these pages is exquisite, and the end result is a perfectly expressed work that transmits the perverse and bizarre experience that is youth, where games signify life and death and where relationships are teased and pushed to the breaking point."—Music & Literature
"A lyrically rich and devastating portrayal of adolescent struggle."—ZYZZYVA
"A darkly evocative work about young girls, grief, and the unsettling, aching need to belong."&mdas;Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"Barba explores what the dynamics of an orphanage reveal about any insular community and the trials of its inevitable outcast."—Idra Novey, author of Ways to Disappear
"Andrés Barba needs no advice. He has already created a world that is perfectly realized and has a craft that is inappropriate for a writer of his age."—Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature
"In my opinion, Barba has become an essential writer."—Rafael Chirbes, author of On the Edge
"Andrés Barba is one of several impressive writers from Spain at work on fiction that brilliantly dissects the business of being alive."—Eileen Battersby, The Irish Times
"An unsettling, tightly controlled book."—Stephen Sparks, Green Apple Books (San Francisco)
"Such Small Hands is a stick of dynamite. Nothing like having your world rearranged in two sittings."—Mark Haber, Brazos Bookstore (Houston)
"I don't think I've ever read such a massively tiny book. A poignant and truly gratifying novel."—Nick Buzanski, Book Culture (New York)
"In stunning prose, Andrés Barba probes the fissures that words stitch together long enough to form a scar. Love, hate, trauma—they're tightly coiled in Such Small Hands into that most universal of scars, childhood, and the results, also like childhood, are unsettling."—Brad Johnson, Diesel, A Bookstore (Oakland)
"Andrés Barba's magnificent novel will haunt you, and continue to haunt you when you least expect it."—Caitlin Luce Baker, University Book Store (Seattle)