“‘I prefer a divorce to a funeral.’ Realizing that my words, however harsh they may seem, conceal a declaration of love, perhaps the most sincere declaration of love I’ve ever made to her, she collapses on the sofa and bursts into tears.” This is the climax of Uppsala Woods, an amazing novel in which Álvaro Colomer looks at life's painful issues with a light-hearted and, at times, funny edge.
When, on his fifth wedding anniversary, Julio gets back home and his wife is nowhere to be found, he feels an omen of doom. As he steps onto the balcony dreading that she might have finally succeeded in going through with it, the empty sidewalk meets his gaze. From this point forward, the author takes the reader on an increasingly frenzied search for his wife and through the searing abyss faced on a daily basis by those attached to somebody who has grown tired of living.
The underlying themes of this humor-ridden drama are loneliness, shame, fear and particularly anger at an impassive society that is unwilling to reflect on one of its worst ailments. When all else fails, the power of love once again turns out to be the only way out.
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The Irish Times, May 23, 2015
There is a deranged lucidity about it all because at heart it is a profound and weirdly touching novel about love as much as depression and suicide. It will make you laugh out aloud and then weep silently before thinking long and hard. Colomer is a truth teller and his art is deliberate. Here is another Spanish novel to applaud.
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