El mes más cruel (Short stories)
First printing: April 2010
Fourth printing: April 2017
Nuevo Talento Fnac de Literatura
El mes más cruel consists of fourteen stories that are, each of them, a careful recipe to surviving madness, fear, loss and the absence of the loved ones. It is a book of disturbing and addictive stories that keep the reader in suspense, and that deal with a metaphor: the metaphor of a dependence that resembles that of love and the ties that bind us to the others.
Extracted from the preface:
In these stories nearly every character reads. In Noli me tangere, Julia must leave the island where she lives and, on the bus that takes her to the ferry, she reads to avoid looking, talking, touching anyone; Caterina wants to lock herself in her room to read a book or to look at her fingernails; a nursemaid reads perhaps to instruct her little child, Darío; Clara was confined to her own room to read, and maybe she never exited; Sara and Olivia read while they try to keep everything in order in the magnificent En materia de jardines; César has an open book on his lap and is aware of the fact that learning is a much more deeper action than the repetition of certain magician tricks. However, he lives in fear or not even knows how to live…
The relationships raised in these stories have to do with the idea of protection and with lies; with what it means to be self-sufficient and how self-sufficiency can be a result of cruelty, abuse or expulsion; with the fantasy that we do not need anyone or that we are alone; with the weakness that is experienced when facing strangers, and how it becomes absolute helplessness when they hurt us or when we are betrayed by the people of our most intimate circle; with mistrust; with the necessity to know who governs whom, who is healthy and who is sick, who can be cured when healing has become an act of domination, who can kill and cure when perhaps there is no difference between the healer and the psycho; with the conviction that certain gatherings devastate and destroy; with how it hurts to get into the skin of others; with sarcasm and self-defense system; with vanity… Two women who don’t know each other must share a three-storey house for a few days, and both insist on maintaining the proper order and to be essential; a lady awaits anxiously the arrival of a younger boy who apparently is going to free her from her boredom and frustration; Scott returns to England after his polar expedition, but no one is there to meet him; a girl named Clara follows the footsteps of an elusive cat; and a mother is responsible for terrorizing her little child in order him never to leave her behind…
With a smart and delicate prose, Pilar Adon talks us about fear, pain and how to try and scape from them. In El viento del sol, the main character reflects on the fact that her smile “was not the smile of the spontaneous happiness”. This story tells the reader about fear of living and about the inability of art to fulfill its aim of communication between the artist and the others. About pain. The auhor uses water as a symbol of death, almost without naming it. Her stories exude elegance and take the essential words to say what she wants to say. Some of them will definitely leave the readers frozen like after having read one of those tales by Perrault, H. C. Andersen and the Grimm brothers. Also in Adón’s stories there are girls running through the woods to see the body of a mad man who got lost (El infinito verde), and perhaps there are young people living at the epicenter of that same forest, in a house with glass walls, who are protected by a domineering mother, a teacher not so strange, that inoculates her ward insecurity and fear while pretending everything she offers is love and protection.
These characters are in a constant search of beauty, and they try to find it in books. Though it is also through those books that they try to scape. From themselves and from the others.
The author reveals fears that trap us like shrubs growing up all around us. (Babelia – El País)
Pilar Adón is a really great writer. It was long ago since a book of stories didn’t impress me so much. (ABC)
The stories of Adón act at the service of finding solutions to the experience of feeling lost in the world. (El Cultural – El Mundo)
Pilar Adón looks into the beauty of the abyss with the weapons of the great storyteller she is. (Qué Leer)
El mes más cruel has been awarded with the Prize Nuevo Talento Fnac de Literatura, and has been shortlisted for some very prestigious literary prizes in Spain: among them, the Tigre Juan Award, to the best book published during the year, and the Setenil Prize to the best book of stories of the previous year:
Nuevo Talento Fnac de Literatura
Finalista VII Premio Setenil 2010 al Mejor Libro de Relatos publicado en España
Finalista XXXII Premio Tigre Juan 2010 al Mejor Libro publicado en España
Finalista Premio Tormenta 2010 al Mejor Libro en castellano
Finalista Premio de la Crítica 2011