Synopses & Reviews
A spellbinding novel that places one family’s tragedies against the uncontainable life force of the land itself.
Near a village high in the Pyrenees, Domènec wanders across a ridge, fancying himself more a poet than a farmer, to “reel off his verses over on this side of the mountain.” He gathers black chanterelles and attends to a troubled cow. And then storm clouds swell, full of electrifying power. Reckless, gleeful, they release their bolts of lightning, one of which strikes Domènec. He dies. The ghosts of seventeenth-century witches gather around him, taking up the chanterelles he’d harvested before going on their merry ways. So begins this novel that is as much about the mountains and the mushrooms as it is about the human dramas that unfold in their midst.
When I Sing, Mountains Dance, winner of the European Union Prize, is a giddy paean to the land in all its interconnectedness, and in it Irene Solà finds a distinct voice for each extraordinary consciousness: the lightning bolts, roe-deer, mountains, the ghosts of the civil war, the widow Sió and later her grown children, Hilari and Mia, as well as Mia’s lovers with their long-buried secrets and their hidden pain.
Solà animates the polyphonic world around us, the fierce music of the seasons, as well as the stories we tell to comprehend loss and love on a personal, historical, and even geological scale. Lyrical, elemental, and mythic, hers is a fearlessly imaginative new voice that brilliantly renders both our tragedies and our triumphs.
"There's so much beauty in this wonderful polyphonic novel that each page makes you fall in love again with nature, with imagination, with words, with life. When I Sing, Mountains Dance is timeless and unique." Mariana Enriquez
"This book made me swoon. Translated with great musicality, tenderness, and wit, When I Sing, Mountains Dance is thirst-quenching literature of the best kind, rich and ranging, shimmering with human and non-human life, the living and the dead, in our time and deep time. Here is a Pyrenees fable that is utterly universal, deadly funny, and profoundly moving." Max Porter
"Like nothing I've read before. This novel is a feral, yowling love howl to a place of such staggering majesty that it resists usual comprehension. By giving voice to animals, storms, outcasts, one-legged girls, birthing women, and the mountain itself, Solà pushes past the limits of human experience to tell a story of instinct and earth-time that is irresistible in its jagged glory." C Pam Zhang
"A masterfully written, brilliantly conceived book that combines depth and breadth superbly." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
About the Author
Irene Solà is a Catalan writer and artist, winner of the Documenta Prize for first novels, the Llibres Anagrama Prize, the European Union Prize for Literature, and the Amadeu Oller Poetry Prize. Her artwork has been exhibited in the Whitechapel Gallery in London.
Mara Faye Lethem is an award-winning translator and author of the novel A Person’s A Person, No Matter How Small. Her recent translations include books by Patricio Pron, Max Besora, Javier Calvo, Marta Orriols, Toni Sala, and Alicia Kopf.