Written by Selva Almada
Translated by Annie McDermott
A piercing and passionate Romeo & Juliet-esque novel, set in rural Argentina, about violence and masculinity with a queer twist
Oscar Tamai and Elvio Miranda, the patriarchs of two families of brickmakers, have for years nursed a mutual hatred, but their teenage sons, Pájaro and Ángelito, somehow fell in love. Brickmakers begins as Pájaro and Marciano, Ángelito’s older brother, lie dying in the mud at the base of a Ferris wheel. Inhabiting a dreamlike state between life and death, they recall the events that forced them to pay the price of their fathers’ petty feud.
The Tamai and Miranda families are caught, like the Capulets and the Montagues, in an almost mythic conflict, one that emerges from stubborn pride and intractable machismo. Like her heralded debut, The Wind That Lays Waste, Selva Almada’s fierce and tender second novel is an unforgettable portrayal of characters who initially seem to stand in opposition, but are ultimately revealed to be bound by their similarities.
Almada enlarges the tradition of some of the most distinctive prose stylists of our time. In Brickmakers, she furthers her extraordinary exploration of masculinity and the realities of working-class rural life. This is another exquisitely written and powerfully told story by a major international voice.
Read if: the straights are at it again.