No es un río

No es un río

Literatura Random House, 2020
140 pages

Published by

France Métailié / Brazil Todavía Livros / Italy  Rizzoli /USA Graywolf Press / UK Charco Press / Germany Berenberg Verlag / Netherlands Uitgeverij Vleugels

Winner of the XV IILA-Letteratura Award 2023 (in its Italian version by Rizzoli, “Non è un fiume”)

Shortlist for the International Booker Prize 2024

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.

Best Books of 2020 inClarín and La Nación

Shortlisted for the Mario Vargas Llosa Novel Prize

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

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

Not a River plunges us straight into the depths of its silences, bracingly so – the longer the quiet goes, the more terrible the rupture. Manuel Muñoz

With incisive, lacerating writing that softens as the story progresses, Almada carries the reader to a place where pain, betrayal and fear are part of everyday life in the provinces. Le Monde

Almada’s prose is sparse, but the details count. Her ear for dialogue and especially gossip is pitch perfect. Her eye for detail is hawkish. LA Review of Books

Almada burns off all the dross and gives us pure revelation, cryptic and true. Paul Harding

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

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

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

She portrays with the accuracy of a sniper. Not only people with their vertigo, 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. Elvira Navarro

A tenacious prose, violent, polished and quietened, that moistens as it flows. Eider Rodriguez

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

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

Almada confirms her mastery in the creation of atmospheres of growing darkness, where hazard opens way to tragedy. El cultural

One of the great renovators of the Spanish American novel. El cultural

(…) with a cadence in the phrasing that allows the narrative to flow rhythmically, vibrantly, musically, with a poetic sobriety that is a trademark of the house and here shines in all its splendor. Cristina Ros, The Objective