Published by MacLehose Press (Quercus).
One snowy night in New York City, a successful, solitary goldsmith reflects on his life, and his unreliable memories intertwine and collide. Journeying to the village in Spain where he grew up, he hopes with some trepidation that he will encounter Celia, ‘the Black Widow’, a beautiful and mysterious friend of his mother with whom he had a short and passionate affair when he was a teenager. But instead he meets a young woman who opens doors into an unimagined world, and takes him back in time. The Goldsmith’s Secret is a remarkable story of a love trapped between two parallel times, set in Spain in the 1950s, 1970s and in the last year of the twentieth century. In beautifully economical prose, and with a structure as intricate and refined as a bevelled jewel, The Goldsmith’s Secret is alight with intense nostalgia, memories and desires. Elia Barcelo has come to be recognized across Europe as a truly original voice, and her books as poetic works of great subtlety.
Elia Barcelό was born in Alicante in 1957 and teaches Spanish Language and Literature at the University of Innsbruck. She has been awarded many prizes for her works of science fiction, but with Heart of Tango (MacLehose Press, 2010) she is fast gaining the wider readership that her fiction richly deserves. David Frye’s translations include The Mangy Parrot by José Joaquín Fernandez de Lizardi, and Thine Is the Kingdom (1999) and Distant Palaces (2004) by Cuban novelist Abilio Estévez.
A lesson in ‘less is more’, The Goldsmith’s Secret is a lovely little volume of reflection on the central character’s life and love, with a narrative to keep the reader on his or her toes as it flits from Spain to New York and back again several times, taking in the man’s life in those places and in the times he was there. Like reading an intimate diary of a man’s love for a woman and for his own life. This won’t be a read suited to all, but for this reader it made a refreshing change to read something quite so poetic.
You can discover The Goldsnith’s Secret for yourself here.