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Intemperie by Jesús Carrasco

Intemperie (original 2013; edition 2013)

by Jesús Carrasco

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2242274,359 (3.85)6
Authors:Jesús Carrasco
Info:Seix Barral (2013), Edición: #REF!, Perfect Paperback, 224 páginas
Collections:Your library
Tags:Protagonista-niño, protagonista-viejo, pobreza, violencia

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Out in the Open by Jesús Carrasco (2013)



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Spanish (11)  English (4)  Dutch (3)  Catalan (3)  Italian (1)  All languages (22)
Showing 4 of 4
Out in the Open is a Spanish novel from 2013. It reminds me of The Road but better. To appreciate, one has to know of Spain's environmental problems with water. There are dry regions that once had villages and farms that have been abandoned to desert. This is due to water mismanagement by coastal resort cities and global warming, rivers dry up, vegetation dies. None of this is discussed in the novel, but anyone from Spain will understand the context and visuals described, not unlike an Old West movie. The setting is vaguely in the future, after the rule of law has collapsed, but with a foot in the Middle Ages. If the age had a historical parallel it might be Late Antiquity when pagan culture was dying off and the Dark Ages beginning. The writing is spare and action oriented with a sinister sense of being hunted - at some point I became so attached to the main characters it left me afraid to keep reading. Carrasco has that power, it is immersive and believable. Highly recommend. ( )
  Stbalbach | Nov 18, 2017 |
I read this in my quest to prepare for my trip to Spain by reading more Spanish authors. It was at the library, apparently quite a popular book in Spain. Hopefully this book will NOT be useful in my travels, as it's mostly about suffering. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic landscape, a dreadful drought that has left the landscape very harsh, and for the most part the people match the landscape. The main character is a young boy. We never learn his name, he is just the boy; I think as a reminder of how dehumanizing the whole situation is. The boy is on the run from abuse and betrayal in his village. He meets an elderly goatherd. The goatherd doesn't talk much, but turns out to be the one kind person around, and he takes the boy under his wing. This takes courage, because the boy is being chased by evil characters from his village.

The story seems allegorical, on the one hand, but on the other hand, the descriptions are very specific. For example, when Carrasco tells you about the boy's attempts to milk goats, you can really visualize the scene. This is a good translation I think, and I found the book compelling. ( )
  banjo123 | Nov 3, 2017 |
Out in the Open by Jesus Carrasco is a highly recommended stark story of violence, escape, and survival. It was translated from the original Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa.

In this bleak novel of drought-stricken landscapes and violence, a young boy escapes, runs away, from what he feels will be death. He is pursued by a man called the bailiff and his henchmen. In order to escape he must cross an arid plan where a source of water and food is uncertain, while keeping hidden from the men who are looking for him. When the young boy meets an elderly goatherd, he is offered food and water, and eventually he understands protection as the old man tries to keep the boy safe and help him escape, traveling at night, even as the violent, evil men who are pursuing him draw closer.

In this austere narrative names and dates don't matter and one day/night blends into another. The details explaining what caused the boy to flee his family are never explained. The old man and the boy are either on the move, trying to avoid the bailiff, or tending to the most basic of needs - water, food, bodily elimination, and sleeping - for them and the donkey, dog, and goats they are traveling with. The landscape is harsh, reflecting a dystopian world, but no explanation for that state of their drought-blighted land is given. The dialogue is meager, subdued. The threat of violence is always present, lurking nearby.

In the end this novel has an almost parable-like feel to it, if you ignore the violence, based on the boy's potential to escape and not perpetuate the threatening behavior he has been exposed to his whole life. The old man exhibits the traits of an adherent to Christian principles (goatherd/shepherd), and Carrasco has some Christian imagery included in the novel. The boy is almost like a disciple of the old man, who is protecting and instructing him, in his minimalist way, on survival and, ultimately, on becoming a man.

The writing is descriptive and elegant, even as the story is violent and bleak. The climax of Out in the Open is grim and devastating, but also gives a slight measure of hope and redemption. This novel may not be a ideal choice for a general audience, but if you liked The Road and lean toward literary fiction, Out in the Open might be a fully satisfying selection.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House.
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2057689507 ( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Jul 12, 2017 |
A dense, hard story about a boy running away from home, from atrocities, from his personal demon, from stupidity and obedience, from .... his life in fact.
Without spoiling too much: it's not pleasant to read, it's about abuse, violence, poverty, disease, no freedom, no future. So be prepared.
In an unspecified timeframe but not recent, in an unspecified country but probably the Extremadura region in Spain, as the author has his roots there, little or no names but a very detailed very local setting which contributes again to this density, as do the hard and detailed description of interaction between the very few main characters in the novel. All these elements together must provide a universal background so that the reader can imagine this happening closeby.
Internationally acclaimed as being a gem, and yes it is kind of a pageturner, but too unlikely in the end, as if the author wanted to compensate for all the misfortune in the kid's life. ( )
  Lunarreader | Nov 20, 2015 |
Showing 4 of 4
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"A searing dystopian vision of a young boy's flight through an unnamed, savaged country, searching for sanctuary and redemption--from one of Europe's bestselling literary stars. A young boy has fled his home. He's pursued by dangerous forces. What lies before him is an infinite, arid plain, one he must cross in order to escape those from whom he's fleeing. One night on the road, he meets an old goatherd, a man who lives simply but righteously, and from that moment on, their paths intertwine. Out in the Open tells the story of this journey through a drought-stricken country ruled by violence. A world where names and dates don't matter, where morals have drained away with the water. In this landscape the boy--not yet a lost cause--has the chance to choose hope and bravery, or to live forever mired in the cycle of violence in which he was raised. Carrasco has masterfully created a high stakes world, a dystopian tale of life and death, right and wrong, terror and salvation"--… (more)

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