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Esther Tusquets: Varada tras el Último naufragio (Stranded)

The final book in her trilogy may well be Tusquets’ most bitter one. It focuses more (though not exclusively) on heterosexual love than the two previous books of the trilogy. We are back at the beach – El mismo mar de todos los veranos (The Same Sea as Every Summer) as the concluding sentence of the novel tells us – with Clara and Elia from the two previous books, with Eva and Pablo joining them for the summer holidays and Jorge, Elia’s husband, having left her. Elia tries to console herself with a young man she picks up at the beach. Clara is in love with Eva and when she finds out that Pablo, going through his mid-life crisis, is having an affair with a young woman he meets on the beach, she tells Eva. Eva takes it all very badly, realising, to her distress, that she is more dependent on Pablo than she had thought.

The book is told in a monologue by the various characters and it is clear, despite their outward contentedness, that they are all unhappy with their lot, using booze, pills and sex to get them through the day, but the basic theme of this book as of the other two in the trilogy is that, ultimately, we should look to ourselves and not others to depend on. We can only really live our own lives and not the lives others. A sad but true conclusion.

Publishing history

First published in Spanish 1980 by Editorial Lumen
First published in English 1991 by Dalkey Archive Press
Translated by Susan E. Clark