Of Beasts and Fowls
by Pilar Adón
Winner of the Spanish National Fiction Prize
Summer ends, the season changes, and Coro, an artist frightened off by what her own paintings may represent, gets in her car and drives for hours in the middle of the night until she chances upon Betania, an isolated house existing in a world of its own. It’s an unfamiliar place inhabited exclusively by women who, strangely, all seem to know her.
Like adherents of an ancient cult, the women of Betania all dress the same, carry out strange rites and celebrations, and live alongside goats and innumerable dogs against a landscape dominated by an immense, imposing mountain that seems to block out the sunlight. Theirs is a hierarchical, closed, and restless universe where—as the other women tell her and despite her attempts to escape the area—Coro may finally discover what it means to be part of something.
A ”Hotel California” of the human heart, Pilar Adón’s Of Beasts and Fowl is a novel about the things that we do without knowing why, but that have an explanation that perhaps we will some day come to understand.
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