Finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Translated Literature, Colombian writer Pilar Quintana's The Bitch (translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman) is a taut, terse tale of guilt, shame, and frustrated desire. Quintana’s slim, yet powerful story is sparse on the prose, yet plentiful in its impact. As violence and brutality abound, The Bitch lays bare the precipitous emotional and existential toll accumulated resentment and thwarted ambitions inevitably exact. The Bitch is a tough, even tender take (despite the cruelty) on one woman’s yearning, bitterness, regret, and grief. Recommended By Jeremy G., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Translated Literature
In Colombia's brutal jungle, childless Damaris develops an intense and ultimately doomed relationship with an orphaned puppy.
Colombia's Pacific coast, where everyday life entails warding off
the brutal forces of nature. In this constant struggle, nothing is taken
for granted. Damaris lives with her fisherman husband in a shack on a
bluff overlooking the sea. Childless and at that age "when women dry
up," as her uncle puts it, she is eager to adopt an orphaned puppy. But
this act may bring more than just affection into her home.
The Bitch is written in a prose as terse as the villagers, with
storms — both meteorological and emotional — lurking around each corner.
Beauty and dread live side by side in this poignant exploration of the
many meanings of motherhood and love.
"Set on Colombia’s Pacific coast, The Bitch by Pilar Quintana is a portrait of a woman wrestling with abandonment, love, and her need to nurture. Translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman, the narrative follows the main character’s adoption of a dog that disappears into the jungle; when the dog returns, she nurses it to health but when it flees once more, there are brutal consequences." National Book Foundation, 2020 National Book Award Longlist in Translated Literature
“The Bitch is a novel of true violence. Artist that she is, Pilar Quintana uncovers wounds we didn’t know we had, shows us their beauty, and then throws a handful of salt into them.” Yuri Herrera, author of Signs Preceding the End of the World
“The magic of this sparse novel is its ability to talk about many things, all of them important, while seemingly talking about something else entirely. What are those things? Violence, loneliness, resilience, cruelty. Quintana works wonders with her disillusioned, no-nonsense, powerful prose.” Juan Gabriel Vásquez
"This book changes you. It looks deeply into motherhood, cruelty and just how unyielding nature can be, with its wild Colombian coast landscape, which is as gorgeous as it is brutal. The result is unforgettable." Mariana Enriquez, author of Things We Lost in the Fire
"A searing psychological
portrait of a troubled woman contending with her instinct to nurture....The brutal scenes unfold quickly, with lean,
stinging prose. Quintana's vivid novel about love, betrayal, and
abandonment hits hard." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Quintana patiently explores [the] darkening mood...an intense story" Kirkus Reviews
"The Bitch by
Colombian writer Pilar Quintana is a devastating portrayal of the
aching, unbearable weight that can be felt from guilt, violence, the
drive to nurture and the need for human connection." Shelf Awareness
About the Author
Pilar Quintana is a Colombian author. She debuted with
Cosquillas En la Lengua in 2003, and published
Coleccionistas de Polvos Raros in 2007, the same year the Hay
Festival selected her as one of the most promising young authors of
Latin America. Her latest novel,
The Bitch, won the prestigious Colombian Biblioteca de Narrativa
Prize, and was selected for several Best Books of 2017 lists, as well as
being chosen as one of the most valuable objects to preserve for future
generations in a marble time capsule in Bogotá.
The Bitch is the first of her works to be translated into English.