As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I am so excited about working with Charco Press by reviewing some of their brilliant titles. Very kindly, they have provided me with an Advanced Reading Copy of Dead Girls by Selva Almada. At first sight, I was so pleased with how clear and effective the front cover aesthetic was. The contrasting pink and green paired with a crisp white background works so well. The paper quality is brilliant which made the reading experience even more amazing.
Read more to hear my review and why I highly recommend this book!
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Selva Almada delves deep into the growing problem of Femicide – the murder of women simply for being women. The fact that a red line appears under the word ‘Femicide’ when I type it, as though it is an unrecognised entity, epitomises the fact that so much more needs to be done in order to shine a light on this huge societal problem. Almada does so by focussing specifically on the case of three women, the youngest having been 15 when she was ‘raped, strangled and dumped in a wasteland.’
Dead Girls is set against the backdrop of Argentina as the country was transitioning towards democracy, symbolising freedom. This is heavily juxtaposed by a society consisting of repressed women and the unfortunate case of Andrea Danne, María Luisa Quevedo and Sarita Mundín.
Almada has expertly depicted the struggle of these women, highlighting their personal situations and the factors which led to their brutal murders, cases which were neglected by police authorities. She touches on important themes in great depth – corruption, spirituality, power, class, community and the power of media – all of which allow the reader to really understand the sociopolitical context within which the book is based.
This is an emotional and heavy read, yet Almada’s writing is fluid, concise and addictive! She covers experiences so far removed from my daily life, yet Almada evokes empathy as she expertly shares the pain of these women. Her dedication to these cases and the extensive research she has undertaken is evident between the pages and should not go unnoticed. Not only is she an incredible writer, but Selva Almada is a force to be reckoned with, an inspirational woman with great purpose.
Whilst the themes included in this book are brutal, and in some cases hard to read, her writing is intertwined with beautiful imagery which allows the reader to conjure wonderfully vivid pictures. The anecdote she shares about her experience with a spiritual medium who told her of ‘the bone gatherer’ was particularly impressive, yet heartbreaking.
Hard hitting. Gripping. Meaningful. Powerful. Moving. The list goes on. This book shines a light on Femicide and whilst this problem is rife in Argentina, it is also present in the UK as a motive for male violence. I can not thank Selva Almada enough for sharing the utterly tragic experience of these women, women who’s voices were stolen at the hands of men. This is book that I believe everyone should read it. Give it to your daughters, sons, neighbours and colleagues. It is an insightful read, one which is hard hitting and incredibly powerful.
This book made me weep, but I’m glad that it did. It moved me more than any book I have read for a long time. I suggest you get the release date in your diary!