How do you review a book so hauntingly horrific dealing with such a violent subject, do we talk about content, writing style, translation, presentation?
I think we should just start at the beginning, what is the book about? In essence it is about the killings of three young women in Argentina during the 80s. Andrea Danne, Maria Luisa Quevedo, and Sarita Mundin, all brutally murdered and their cases never resolved.
This is not a ‘true crime’ book though, it is an examination of a point in time and place, an examination of the young women, their possible murderers, the society, and the fear that a culture of femicide has on people who live with it every day. None of this is done heavy-handedly, none of it is sensationalised, there is no feeling of being an outsider vicariously enjoying the spectacle of ‘true crime’.
This is all scaffolded by Selva Almada’s hauntingly beautiful writing so sympathetically translated by Annie McDermott.
Selva brings the place and time to mind in such beautiful prose that you almost, not quite, but almost forget about the horror of what you’re reading about, the touches of wind and dust are reminiscent of The Wind That Lays Waste.
I’m so glad that Charco Press sent me a copy of Dead Girls to review because as always they have produced a wonderful book which really strikes home.