Such Small Hands, by Andrés Barba. In conversation with Idra Novey

Transit Books 

Translated by Lisa Dillman; afterword by Edmund White

Shirley Jackson meets The Virgin Suicides in a masterwork from the Spanish writer at the peak of his powers.

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 is the one the most lauded contemporary Spanish writers. He is the author of twelve books, including August, October and Rain Over Madrid. In addition to literary fiction, he has written essays, poems, books of photography, and translations of De Quincey and Melville. His most recent novel to appear in English, Such Small Hands (tr. Lisa Dillman), is published by Transit Books.


 Idra Novey is the author of the novel Ways to Disappear, an L.A. Times Book Prize finalist for First Fiction and the winner of the 2016 Brooklyn Eagles Prize. Her fiction and poetry have been translated into ten languages and she's written for the New York Times, the L.A. Times, and the Paris Review. She is also a translator, most recently of Clarice Lispector's novel The Passion According to G.H.



“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, author of Our Young Man

"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 BattersbyThe 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)



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Such Small Hands By Andrés Barba, Lisa Dillman (Translator), Edmund White (Afterword by) Cover Image
By Andrés Barba, Lisa Dillman (Translator), Edmund White (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9781945492006
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Transit Books - April 11th, 2017