Original title: Terres voraces
Like so many other young women, Bianca is abducted by one of the cartel gangs that are omnipresent in this country that strongly resembles Mexico. On the day of the abduction, she is wearing the shirt of her idol, Messi. Her mother, Lucia, pays the ransom demanded, but sensing that her daughter is already dead and that she cannot rely on the corrupt authorities, she joins a collective of mothers who spend their time combing the arid hills in search of the bodies of their children. She collects all the clues and bones they find and secretly arranges them at home because she wants “people to hear these fragmented bodies screaming at night in your garage. These bones have so much to say, you tell yourself, to those who have to dispense justice and those waiting for them to do so.”
It is in these tragic circumstances that Messi enters the story during a Champions League semi-final. Bianca’s abductor has decided that if Barça wins, he will release her. If not, she will be killed. It is the perverse paradox of the modern age, whereby the value of a life is determined by a futile football tournament… Contacted by Lucia and touched by her struggle, the illustrious footballer instills hope in her but at the same time signs the death warrant of this Mother Courage who has become an embarrassment both for the drug cartels and their official protectors in a country that has grown accustomed to resignation and submission.
This powerful novel derives its force from Lucia’s own voice, her anger, and her burning determination to resist and to refuse to accept the lies of the state, the culture of impunity, a decimated youth, lives put on hold, and the destruction of the light.
A dark yet defiant book whose penetrating language—like the iron rods and pickaxes the women use to search these voracious lands—reveals the scale of the invisible fissures and silent fault lines, attesting to the fact that literature can excel at expressing that which people would rather went unspoken and can thus be a critical weapon in combating indifference and oblivion.