No es un río

No es un río

Novel | Literatura Random House, 2020 | 140 pages

Will be published by

France Métailié / Brazil Todavía Livros / Italy  Rizzoli /USA Graywolf Press/ UK Charco Press

The novel tells the story of two friends, Enero and El Negro, who take Tilo, the teenage son of Eusebio – their recently deceased friend- fishing to the Paraná River.
While they drink and cook and talk and dance, they try to overcome the ghosts of their past and those of the present – their mood altered by wine and torpor.

This intimate, peculiar moment connecting the lives of these three men also links them to the lives of the local inhabitants of this nature universe, surrounded by water and ruled by its own laws.

There are losses, premature deaths…But there is also the stubborn vitality of nature: a bush covered with ancient trees, animals, birds; the river bearing life in its entrails, the people born and raised in this landscape which they protect with nails and teeth against intruders.

This story, that flows like the river, talks about the love between friends, the love of a mother for her daughters, and the love of the islanders for their river and everything that lives in it.

This masterful novel shows once again her unique voice and extraordinary sensitivity – letting its characters shine and express in action what the depths of their souls harbour.


Considered one of the best books of the year by the newspaper Clarín

Chosen by the newspaper La Nación among the best books published in 2020

Selva Almada builds a lyricism of harshness, of scant words, a lyricism in which the strong and hard patched hands of her characters barely need to be mentioned in order to be felt. They touch you. Gabriela Cabezón Cámara, Diario Clarín 

          it is a real delight to navigate in such a rich Spanish, so full of sensations. El Cultural 

In No es un río, Selva Almada undertakes a poetical flight over her provincial landscapes. Patricia Kolesnicov, Diario Clarín

The language reaches the condensation of poetry. The sentences are extremely short; the descriptions, adjusted; the images, precise. Verónica Voix, Diario La Nación

Selva Almada, like Clare Keegan, describes the floating silence and in this last novel she does so with the silence left by the death of those men, in that mountain, in that river. Radar Libros/ Página 12

Selva Almada wrote a novel that is poetry without ever stopping of narrating. Diario Clarín

In her stories  the earth speaks (…), nature makes itself being heard . Diario La Nación

With this novel, Selva Almada definitely consolidates herself as one of the main narrators of the XXI century. Revista Cine y literature

Selva Almada has consolidated a prose whose pillars become clearer every time: a poetical search within orality, a notable presence of the rural geography that becomes another added character and a tone that goes deeply into evocation and evanescence rather than into highlighting or the mere pamphlet. Pablo Díaz Merenghi La Agenda

Her economy of resources has a dazzling power. Diario La voz

Nature, gestures, the elements, soaks the psychology of the story, whose intensity and contrasts evoke the technique of xylography, used in this case with dazzling mastery. Ignacio Echevarría 

I always read Selva Almada with devotion, but in order to finish “No es un río” I had to stand up in the middle of my living room  and read it aloud. How much wellness comes from good literature. Samanta Schweblin

The most admirable aspect of No es un río is the way the author builds a space for meanings that travel between fantasy and realism. Marta Sanz

She portrays with the accuracy of a sniper. Not only people with their vertigoes, but also the rivers and the night. Mean, precise, rough and even so, voluptuous. Lara Moreno

Selva Almada provides “No es un río” with an enormous strength thanks to a writing where local customs and manners become poetry. She writes social novel with all its virtues and none of its faults. Elvira Navarro

Perhaps because she writes from the margins, Selva Almada is able to give words the meaning they once dreamed to have. A tenacious prose, violent, polished and quietened, that moistens as it flows. Eider Rodríguez

         An elegant and well developed literary language with an enormous accurateness that allows her characters a thickness and a credibility that is very uncommon. Martín Parra Cine y literatura