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Golden Hour Books

January by Sara Gallardo (Translated from the Spanish by Frances Riddle & Maureen Shaughnessy)

January by Sara Gallardo (Translated from the Spanish by Frances Riddle & Maureen Shaughnessy)

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“Elegant and forceful – I couldn’t put it down.”  – Catherine Lacey, author of Biography of X

A pioneering, revelatory masterpiece of modern literature that conjures the life of 16-year-old girl living on the Argentine pampas — now in English for the very first time

With echoes of Edith Wharton’s Summer, this radical feminist novel broke the silence around abortion to reshape the way women’s bodies and rights were perceived in 20th-century Argentina

Perfect for readers of Tove Ditlevsen, Annie Ernaux’s Happening, and Claudia Piñeiro’s Elena Knows

In the sweltering Argentine pampas, all things bow to Nefer. Reeds nod when she digs her heels into her horse, unripe peaches snap and fall as she gallops past. Sickly-sweet air bends, churns in Nefer’s throat. 

Nefer measures the distance between her body and the table, and feels something filling her up, turning against her. Her belly swells.

Desperate, Nefer visits a local medicine woman who is known to perform abortions but Nefer becomes too afraid to explain why she is truly there.

She attends confession at church but cannot confide in the priest. During a fierce argument with her mother, she finally blurts out her secret. 

A radical feminist text, January was the first Argentine novel to represent rape from the survivor’s perspective and to explore the life-threatening risks pregnancy posed, in a society where abortion was both outlawed and taboo.

With a narcotic musicality and voice scorched through with honesty, Gallardo hangs before us an experience that has been lived and ignored a thousand times over. Nefer closes her eyes. We careen to her and we see.

Sara Gallardo was a celebrated Argentinian writer, born in Buenos Aires in 1931. Her debut, January, was published in 1958, and by the time she died in 1988, she had published more than a dozen novels, collections of short stories, children’s books, and essays. January received little critical attention when first released and remained out of print for decades before being recovered. It is now assigned reading in high school classrooms across Argentina.

Frances Riddle (translator) has translated numerous Spanish-language authors, including Isabel Allende, Claudia Piñeiro, Leila Guerriero, María Fernanda Ampuero, and Sara Gallardo. Originally from Houston, Texas, she lives in Buenos Aires.

Maureen Shaughnessy’s (translator) translations from Spanish include works by Hebe Uhart, Nora Lange, Margarita García Robayo, and Luis Nuño. Raised in Portland, she now lives in Bariloche, Argentina. Maureen's translation of Hebe Uhart’s The Scent of Buenos Aires was a finalist for the 2020 PEN Translation Prize.
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