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Dolores Reyes

Author of Eartheater: A Novel

2 Works 186 Members 7 Reviews

Works by Dolores Reyes

Eartheater: A Novel (2019) 181 copies
Miseria (Spanish Edition) (2023) 5 copies


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I love everything from Argentina? Haunting and terse and a great example of actual original magical realism.
Kiramke | 6 other reviews | Feb 3, 2024 |
August was Women In Translation (WIT) month and this year marks the tenth year of the project designed to encourage more readers to pick up books written and translated by women. I don't always participate, but I was in the mood to pick up Eartheater by Dolores Reyes so this fit nicely into my reading schedule.

Eartheater is a Latin American novel set in a slum in modern-day Argentina. Our protagonist has a compulsion to eat earth, but when she does she often sees disturbing visions of people who are missing or have been murdered. Troubled by her gift and the violence against women she witnesses, she prefers to remain withdrawn, playing computer games and drinking beer. Meanwhile, news of her gift spreads and family members - desperately seeking answers about their loved ones - start leaving bottles of earth at her gate, in the hope she can help them.

"I knelt down ... and put the bottle next to the others for company. There were plenty of blue ones. No blue was the same and no earth tasted alike. No child, sibling, mother, or friend was missed like another. Side by side, they were like glimmering tombs. At first, I used to count them and arrange them tenderly, sometimes stroking one until it let me savor the earth inside it." Page 59

The thought of all of those bottles and the despairing loved ones who were desperately hoping she might be able to give them some answers immediately stressed me out. This expectation and pressure made me feel uneasy, and I wanted the character to bring the bottles in and start working through them systematically. Maybe teaming up with a policeman to do it in a neat and tidy 'crime-meets-magical-realism, told from a feminist perspective' kind of way.

But this isn't that book, or like the TV show Medium. Instead, Reyes successfully highlights the fact that having this ability doesn't automatically equip the receiver with the necessary life skills to overcome their individual circumstances and become a community hero. Life just isn't like that.

Translated to English from Spanish by Julia Sanches, Eartheater has a dark and haunting atmosphere and I enjoyed the note from the translator at the end of the novel.
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Carpe_Librum | 6 other reviews | Sep 1, 2023 |
This book was very good, but odd. I'm not sure if it was in the translation or if it was because it's written just outside the line of stream-of-conscious. It's not horror. It's paranormal, but not horror.

It's sad. The main character is poor and lives in an insular barrio community in Argentina. She can see a slice of the life of a person by eating the dirt of a place that is meaningful to them. There's a lot of violence against women. Most of the violence is treated as an unsurprising, everyday occurrence. Heartbreaking for the family and friends, but not as a larger tragedy.

Being immersed in the narrator's world is a hard read. She's eating literal dirt, which is, of course, a metaphor for the larger picture. But still... It's super gross. The narrator is aware of how grotesque it is and resists until she breaks through puberty and begins to see the pattern in the deaths of the women around her. Again, meaningful.

The book works. It digs at you and compels you to look at the ugliness of impoverished, patriarchal communities. This book could have been written in the 1930s, 1960s, 1990s or now. The setting could be in a million other places. Human behaviors never change. The only thing that really changes is the language the powerful uses to describe it. Damn, that's depressing.

I need to read something fun now.
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rabbit-stew | 6 other reviews | Jun 26, 2022 |
Eartheater is a story with a great premise that never quite fulfills itself. The characters are mostly unrealized and the plot is a very shallow grave. It is a worthwhile read, but curb your expectations. This one's a tease.
jaimes_folly | 6 other reviews | May 25, 2022 |


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Julia Sanches Translator


½ 3.6

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