Inspired, in part, by Moira McCavana’s own family history in Bilbao, these inventive short stories inhabit the Spanish Basque Country in the fifty years following the Spanish Civil War.
“In Guernica, there isn’t a tree, on the outskirts of town, from whose gnarled arms dangle felt berets. The hats are not a range of colors—they are not blue, cream, maroon, brown, orange, violet, or green. The hats did not begin as buds, as specks of folded felt that uncurled as the tree developed from a sapling, and matured.” So begins the opening story of Electrodomésticos, the debut collection from Moira McCavana. In these stories, characters struggle with allegiances both political and personal, their attempts at independence coinciding with the region’s growing nationalist fervor. Exquisitely attuned to the nuances of familial and cultural history, and beautifully blending pastoral and historical sensibilities, Electrodomésticos is a stunning debut about place, language, and identity, from a promising new voice.
Originally from Massachusetts, Moira McCavana has spent much of her writing life responding to inherited family histories from Northern Ireland and Northern Spain. Her first published short story, “No Spanish,” was selected for the 2019 O. Henry Prize Anthology. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, Guernica, The Drift, Harvard Review, and The London Magazine, and has been adapted to audio as an Audible Original story. In August 2022, she was the recipient of a MacDowell fellowship.
"McCavana reminds us that small gestures bear great weight. . . . Quiet but impeccable." —Kirkus Reviews
“In Moira McCavana’s evocative stories, the Basque country situates itself within two regions of a capacious literary imagination: one is gritty, authentic and profoundly human; the other lies in the realm of memory, hope and Calvino-esque invention. McCavana roams these rough-hewn, contested territories with daring and compassion.”
—Ken Kalfus, National Book Award finalist for A Disorder Peculiar to the Country
“In her stunning debut collection, Moira McCavana invites readers into the soul of Basque country. Electrodomésticos explores those regions—geographic, cultural, emotional—that shape the diverse lives of characters. McCavana writes with extraordinary insight, poignant humanity, and the quiet, lyric beauty of timeless poetry.”
—Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Remember Me Like This
"Electrodomésticos is rigorously interested in our love for places which never quite yield their secrets to us. McCavana makes language uncanny and intimate, a system of symbols which bears the keys to both estrangement and belonging."