Such Small Hands By Andrés Barba


Some of us thought she’s be big, others said she’s be our size; some said she’d be very pretty others didn’t think so. Her first triumph was this: we were no longer all the same.

At the beginning of the year I set myself some goals and one of them was to try and read more translated fiction. Which I can say I have been successful with this in the fact I have read more translated fiction this year so far than any other year previously. I would like to thank Natalie at Granta Books for being so kind and sending me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Such Small Hands by Andrés Barba was originally written in Spanish but has recently been translated into English by Lisa Dillman and will be published by Portobello Books on the 3rd August, 2017 (Today). The story centres on (official blurb): “Her father died instantly, her mother in the hospital. She has learned to say this flatly and without emotion, the way she says her name (Marina), her doll’s name (Marina) and her age (Seven). Her parents were killed in a car crash and now she lived in the orphanage with the other little girl. But Marina is not like the other little girls. In the curious, hyperreal, feverishly serious world of childhood, Marina and the girls play games of desire and warfare. The daily rituals of playtime, lunchtime and bedtime and charged with a horror; horror is licked by the dark flames of love. When Marina introduces the girls to Marina the doll, she sets in moion a chain of events from which there can be no release.”

The first thing I would like to say about this novella is the fact it is beautifully written in a kind of a hypnotic way however, I just did not connect with this book in anyway. Such Small Hands has a very vast array of characters especially when it comes to little girls. Each one of the characters within this novella has quite an eerie and unsure aspect to them. Every character that you encounter within this book  leaves you with a haunting feeling that you can never really get to grips with.

Such Small Hands has many different themes running throughout however, three themes in particular run continually throughout this book and they are: death, childhood and creepiness. This novella is a very focused and precise read with a feeling of eeriness very present throughout the whole book.

I read this book back in June and I still don’t really know how I feel about it.

But of that violence was born a dark, gurgling pleasure, the supple feeling of having won, or being on the verge of winning.

Overall, Such Small Hands is a very dark and psychological reality and eventhough I personally did not connect with this story I would still recommend it to readers who like creepy, dark, strange and haunting kind of books.


The edition was published by Portobello Books (2017)

(The Image is my own please do not copy/take without permission first)


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