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Kanada

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Original Language: Spanish | 196 pp. | March 2017

2 Seas Represents: USA and the Netherlands.

Rights Sold: Germany (Secession Verlag), the Netherlands (Wereldbibliotheek, two-book deal).

English sample available

LITERARY FICTION

In “Kanada”, Juan Gómez Barcena’s extraordinary writing turns the brutality of Nazism and Stalinism into silence. An unforgettable character. A novel of hopelessness for our hopeless moment in time. — Luisgé Martin

A great and admirable novel, a euphoria of reading pleasure. — Fernando Marías

Kanada begins where most novels about the Holocaust end: with the liberation of Auschwitz. 1945 marks the end of the massacres, but also the start of another tragedy that has inspired much less literature, the impossible return home for millions of survivors.

Kanada’s protagonist has lost everything, his family, his memories, his purpose. All he has left is his old residence in Budapest, a makeshift shelter in which he decides to lock himself in and close off from the world. Surrounded by neighbours who seem as much like his saviours as his jailers, his own home will eventually become a kind of private concentration camp. There, he embarks on a journey inside the four walls of his room, trying to get back to the origin of his trauma, to the mysterious country of Kanada, where he claims to come from.

What do we do when circumstances compel us to perform acts we never thought possible? How to we recover our identity when everything has been taken away? Is it possible to return to a world whose rules have ceased to make sense? With his second novel, taking influence from Borges, Vonnegut and Amis, Juan Gómez Barcena dares to tackle one of history’s darkest episodes from a new perspective, which doesn’t focus attention on the executioners or on the physical act of extermination, but on the guilt that suffering inflicts on the victims.