We are absolutely thrilled to announce that Pilar Quintana’s Abyss, translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman and published by World Editions, has been named a FINALIST for the 2023 National Book Award in Translated Literature, making it our fifth National Book Award Honoree in five years!
The nomination is the last in a string of awards and recognitions for Pilar Quintana, whose previous book The Bitch was a 2020 National Book Award Finalist.
“An eight-year-old girl takes in a series of troubling events in this luminous and transfixing account of fractured family life from Colombian writer Quintana. Readers will be dazzled.” —Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW
Claudia is an impressionable eight-year-old girl, trying to understand the world through the eyes of the adults around her. But her hardworking father hardly speaks a word, while her unhappy mother spends her days reading celebrity lifestyle magazines, tending to her enormous collection of plants, and filling Claudia’s head with stories about women who end their lives in tragic ways. Then an interloper arrives, disturbing the delicate balance of family life, and Claudia’s world starts falling apart. In this strikingly vivid novel set in Cali, Colombia, Claudia’s acute observations remind us that children are capable of discerning extremely complex realities even if they cannot fully understand them. Quintana leads us brilliantly into the lonely heart of the child we have all once been, driven by fear of abandonment.
“Quintana’s spare, atmospheric novel, succinctly translated by Lisa Dillman, explores Claudia’s high anxiety and the terrors of the adult world. And there’s much for her to fear: snakes, guerrillas, loneliness, crippling sadness.” —Anderson Tepper, The New York Times
Pilar Quintana is a widely respected Colombian author. Her previous novel, The Bitch, won a PEN Translates award in the UK and was a finalist for the National Book Award in the US. It also won the prestigious Colombian Biblioteca de Narrativa Prize, and was chosen as one of the most valuable objects to preserve for future generations in a marble time capsule in Bogotá. Abyss, her latest novel, was awarded the Premio Alfaguara de Novela, which is among the most prestigious awards in the Spanish language.
Lisa Dillman lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where she translates Spanish, Catalan, and Latin American writers and teaches in the department of Spanish and Portuguese at Emory University. Some of her recent translations include A Silent Fury by Yuri Herrera, A Luminous Republic by Andrés Barba, The Touch System by Alejandra Costamagna, and The Bitch by Pilar Quintana.
Abyss by Pilar Quintana • Translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman (Feb • Trade Paperback • 978-1-64286-122-8 US • 978-1-912987-40-5 UK)
2020 NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS TRANSLATED LITERATURE FINALIST
“The Bitch distills entire social, ethical, and cultural universes into a potent short novel, thanks to Pilar Quintana’s remarkable eye for detail and Lisa Dillman’s spare yet stirring translation. Set in a coastal town in Colombia, this novel is populated by complex characters outlined with minimalist strokes of absolute precision, and offers a startling, profound portrait of frustrated desire that will stay with the reader for a long time to come.” —National Book Award Judges Citation
Colombia’s Pacific coast, where everyday life entails warding off the brutal forces of nature, 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.
“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 Bitch by Pilar Quintana • Translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman (August 2020) • Trade Paperback • 978-1-64286-059-7 US • 978-1-912987-05-4 UK)