An improbable love story that becomes an unforgettable tale of redemption, by the author awarded the 2018 National Prize for Narrative that has sold over 130.000 copies in Spain alone
In 1954, the young psychiatrist Germán Velázquez arrives at the Ciempozuelos asylum for women in the south of Madrid. He escaped from the Civil War with his father’s help and took shelter with the Goldstein family in Switzerland, where he studied. In the asylum, Germán will meet a patient, the extraordinary Aurora Rodríguez Carballeira, a highly cultured schizophrenic parricide, and her assistant, María, a modest young woman whom she has educated and taught to read. Attracted by María, Germán grows disturbed when she avoids him and refuses to see him alone, and he suspects that she harbors many secrets she can only speak about outside the hospital’s walls. Maria’s humble origins as the granddaughter of the gardener, her years as maid to a powerful family in Madrid, her disenchantment with her first lover, her relationship with Aurora and the nuns, will become clear to readers as they learn in parallel of Germán’s life in Switzerland, where he witnessed the devastation suffered by a Jewish family amid the ravages of the Second World War. Soulmates yearning to flee their respective pasts, Germán and María want a new opportunity. Unfortunately, they come to see they are living in a country on its knees, where every sin is a crime and puritanism and repression provide cover for abuses and vileness of all kinds.
“A cascade of superb fiction and throbbing credibility, seamless. With a perfect sense of pacing and narrative tension. This luminous novel has brought me immense literary pleasure.” Babelia/El País
“The best of the Episodes series. Revealing the twin virtues of Almudena Grandes: her portrayal of people and settings, which recollects Galdós, and her skill as a plotter, in a novel as gripping as any page-turner…Excellent, it seems to me." Abc Cultural
"Almudena Grandes has written another page-turner. A well-rounded, balanced, ably structured, and moving story.” Levante
“With this novel, Almudena Grandes reaches the high point of this series. She is an absolutely singular author in Spanish literature." La Opinión de Málaga
“Almudena Grandes is a beacon for those of us who want to know where we’ve come from… Beyond the pleasure of reading a major novel and identifying with the author and the characters, Frankenstein’s Mother is the best antidote against concern in this day and age.” Pedro Almodóvar, Eldiario.es
“María is one of the most finely drawn characters in Spanish literature in recent years… The spirit of Galdós shines through here, in moving pages that the old master himself would have felt proud of.” Zenda
“Few literary undertakings are more intense and defiant than this series. An adventure of emotions and commitments. A book that forms part of the very best of our literature at the beginning of this present century.” Diario de Pontevedra
“The most accomplished of the Episodes. A series useful to the public, a group of novels that should be read in high school so those born in the twenty-first century don’t forget where we came from.” Heraldo de Aragón
Almudena Grandes (Madrid, 1960) became widely known as a writer with her novel Las edades de Lulú (Sonrisa Vertical Prize in 1989) which sold a million copies worldwide. She is the author of thirteen novels and two books of short stories that have established her as one of the most solid and internationally-known narrators in contemporary Spanish literature. Many of her works have been taken to the big screen. El corazón helado (Fundación Lara Prize, prizes of the booksellers in Madrid and Seville, Rapallo Carige in Italy and Prix Méditerranée in France among other) was one of the most acclaimed and long-running successes in current Spanish literature. Her present cycle Episodes from an Endless War has sold 1,2 million copies and includes the stand-alone novels Inés y la alegría (Critics Prize in Madrid, Elena Poniatowska Prize, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Prize), El lector de Julio Verne, Las tres bodas de Manolita (2014 best-selling Spanish novel), Los pacientes del Doctor García (2018 National Prize for Literature and Liber Prize) and La madre de Frankenstein.
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