When archaeologists of the future find a digital fossil with a link to the best books of 2020 according to Babelia, You will know that in the great year of the covid, no book on the pandemic made its way onto the list, but titles that portray the society of the moment well won. On the one hand, the recognition of literature written by women is resounding: novelists and poets occupy six of the first ten positions on the list, including the main one, which is for Sara Mesa with One Love. On the other hand, The era of surveillance capitalism, of Shoshana Zuboff, stood out in months in which —for leisure, for business and telebusiness— we turned to digital life while The Europeans, from English Orlando Figes, and Fall, of the Scottish Ali Smith, did the same in the year in which the Brexi.
THEY WERE BOOKS OF THE YEAR …
2019. Fine rain. Luis Landero. Tusquets.
See here the 2019 special
2018. Ordesa. Manuel Vilas. Alfaguara.
See here the 2018 special
2017. Berta Isla. Javier Marías. Alfaguara.
See here the special of 2017
2016. Handbook for cleaners. Lucia Berlin. Alfaguara.
See here the 2016 special
2015. The diaries of Emilio Renzi. Years of training Ricardo Piglia. Anagram.
See here the 2015 special
2014. This is how the bad begins. Javier Marías. Alfaguara.
See here the 2014 special
2013. On the shore. Rafael Chirbes. Anagram.
See here the 2013 special
2012. Thinking the 20th century. Tony Judt. Taurus.
See here the 2012 special
2011. The crushes. Javier Marías. Alfaguara.
See here the 2011 special
2010. Summer. J. M. Coetzee. Literatura Random House.
2009. Anatomy of an instant. Javier Cercas. Literatura Random House.
2008. Chesil Beach. Ian McEwan. Anagrama.
2007. Life and destiny. Vasili Grossman. Galaxia Gutenberg.
Six visions from Latin America
Mother star, de Giuseppe Caputo.
This is an extraordinary, moving, very powerful novel, full of memorable images. In Mother star, a son waits for a mother who does not arrive. The novel revolves around an alternative vision to a world dominated by traditional masculine values: in it care is more important than competitiveness, and fragility, melodrama, homosexuality, and imperfect motherhood are central. An emblematic image is that of the construction workers who return every night to kiss: that image is a horizon of the future. Mother star She also touches on the question of money or its lack, but this does not lead her to settle on lack: desire is still fundamental. I also recommend the gothic storybook Fresh earth from his grave, by Giovanna Rivero, and the novel Manubiduyepe, by Juan Pablo Piñeiro, set in the jungle of Pando: Rivero and Piñeiro write from the folds of several Bolivias that have remained hidden for fiction.
Weave the Darknessby Emiliano Monge.
With more than eighty different narrators, this impressive dystopia is spinning the voices of the orphans, those to whom we have given an undone world … and what will they do with these pieces? Throughout its diaspora-journey, the survivors community weaves time and memory through the construction of its own and at the same time collective language. This swarm novel feels like a living organism. The searches and struggles of the different generations are like the tides, rising and retreating, approaching and receding. At times it offers us a mystical experience: flashes that reveal the inevitable impermanence, the infinite movement. This novel is pure poetry, and it reminds us of what great literature is made of.
YÁSNAYA ELENA AGUILAR
Cotton autobiographyby Cristina Rivera Garza.
This book by Cristina Rivera Garza illuminates the northern territory of the country through the search for the traces that her family’s migration left through cotton fields and the search for a promised land that the project of the Mexican state once dreamed of for the northern border. Rivera Garza weaves imagined memories of his grandmothers to give new meaning to the words territory and north.
MARÍA GÓMEZ LARA
Babiuscas for dead children who cannot sleepby France Elena Goenaga.
The author dedicates this collection of poems to Colombian children who have suffered violence and to their mothers. A moving book, where the musicality of the lullaby, which recalls the popular songs of the Colombian Pacific coast, contrasts with devastating images in which death is confused with sleep, and violence is also tenderly resisted. In this book a brave voice sings, made up of many voices, of laments that crash and echo. A subtle voice in its name that tears to contain the pain and horror of the massacre, when even nature is speechless.
GABRIELA CABEZÓN CAMERA
Not a riverby Selva Almada.
Three men, two adults and a young man, go fishing on the islands of Paraná. More united by common history and a death that marked the three of them than by the few words that are said, they will pass through those days surrounded by their own ghosts, flesh and blood islanders, islanders’ ghosts and the strength of a exuberant nature. Almada tells a story like someone who writes a poem of those in which each word is alive and shines and weighs in all its splendor: he constructs an extraordinary lyric, a lyric of harshness, one that makes silence sound without ever losing the narrative pulse.
CARLOS MANUEL ÁLVAREZ
Shadow Elasticby Juan Cárdenas.
Shade elastic militates in dance and resists in the air. “In these mountains we are fighting two wars: the 19th century and the 21st century,” says Don Floro, one of the characters in the book. The vitality of this multiple political time rests on the fact that the novel permanently slips out of the zones of historical custom. The blow of the machete traces secret calligraphies, cuts ditches in the wind and the words acquire the rhythm of black fencing. While the characters go into Cauca in search of the secret, the text goes into the language in search of the mystery. Thus, what the characters discover, the sign hides, and that mischievous party of movement is what is called “the false diagonal” there. The language in which Cárdenas writes, which no one can accurately map, awakens the dead and the ghost to the living, to show us that there is no war that has yet ended.
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