Of Beasts and Fowls


by Pilar Adón

November 5, 2024
novel | pb | 220 pgs.
5.5" x 8.5"

Winner of Spain’s Premio Nacional de Narrativa in 2023

“A funerary poem about a bird flying underground; a psychodrama of two sisters drowning in the mirror of memory; a center of a necrophilic labyrinth; Virginia Woolf’s Rhoda lost in John Hawkes’s Travesty. Pilar Adon’s novel is the most haunting I have read in years.”—Mircea Cărtărescu, winner of the Dublin Literary Award

Summer is ending and Coro, an artist frightened of what her paintings of her dead sister may represent, gets in her car one night and starts to drive, with no plan or destination. After a wrong turn down a narrow dirt road, she runs out of gas outside the gates of a large and isolated house called Bethany, a place inhabited exclusively by a small group of women who seem to exist in a closed, hierarchical system a world apart. The women of Bethany live closely with the natural and animal world, celebrate rites and rituals, and, like devotees of an ancestral cult, all dress the same. Most unsettlingly, they seem to know who Coro is already. In fact, they have been expecting her.

How the women came to live in Bethany, why they believe Coro is destined to be there, and most pressing, why won’t they let her leave are questions Coro must face as she struggles between the instinct to escape and the sense that something larger is at work.

When Bethany’s careful balance is disturbed—with violent consequences—by the appearance of a mysterious man who claims the house and land are his, Coro will find herself forced to meet her own ghosts, reckon with her choices, and accept that Bethany might just be where she belongs.

Winner of Spain’s Premio Nacional de Narrativa in 2023, Of Beasts and Fowls introduces a grand talent new to English audiences in a haunting novel rife with natural descriptions, signs and symbols, and a sense of the uncanny.

Translated from the Spanish by Katie Whittemore


About the Author:

Pilar Adón was born in Madrid in 1971 and is the author of four novels, including The Mayflies (forthcoming from Open Letter), several short story collection, and four volumes of poetry. She received the Ojo Critico Prize for Viajes inocentes, and won the Premio Francisco Umbral al Libro del Año, Premio Cálamo, and the Premio de la Critica for Of Beasts and Fowls.

About the Translator:

Katie Whittemore translates from the Spanish. Full-length translations include works by Sara Mesa, Javier Serena, Aroa Moreno Durán, Lara Moreno, Nuria Labari, and Katixa Agirre. Forthcoming translations include novels by Jon Bilbao, Juan Gómez Bárcena, Almudena Sánchez, Aliocha Coll, and Pilar Adón. She received an NEA Translation Fellowship in 2022 to translate Moreno's In Case We Lose Power, and was a finalist for the Spain-USA Prize for her translation of Katixa Agirre's Mothers Don't.


Praise for Of Beasts and Fowls:

“Pilar Adón's writing … [is] literature in its purest form, and the novel Of Beasts and Fowls only confirms it.”—José María Pozuelo Yvancos, ABC Cultural

“A novel like Of Beasts and Fowls is a book that everyone who loves literature should read.”—Carlos Pardo, Babelia

“Fascination and unease are the feelings that dominate the reader of this splendid novel in which the writer plunges us back into her particular universe.”—Juan Marqués, Reading

“Those who approach Pilar Adón's writing for the first time will find themselves immersed in a mysterious and suffocating reality. [In Of Beasts and Fowls] everything is marked from the very beginning with the most overwhelming sense of the unusual.”—Santos Sanz Villanueva, El Cultural

“Adón has built a unique literary world with devices, spaces, and characters, as well as with her own rhetoric and themes and motifs, which set her apart from the rest of contemporary authors.”—Fernando Valls, InfoLibre

“Pilar Adón has established herself as one of the most personal and unique voices in the current scene of Spanish literature.”—Elena Hevia