Magazine article New Internationalist

Nocilla Dream

Magazine article New Internationalist

Nocilla Dream

Article excerpt

Nocilla Dream by Agustín Fernández Mallo, translated from the Spanish by Thomas Bunstead (Fitzcarraldo Editions, ISBN 9781910695029)

Reviewers are generally inured to the hyperbole of publishers, so, when the blurb to Nocilla Dream described it as 'arborescently structured', I sighed briefly and read on, only to find that the phrase is both literally and metaphorically accurate. Trees - specifically, one tree - are central to the book and the overlapping, incantatory narratives do resemble the form and spread of branches.

We begin in the middle of the Nevada desert, on US Route 50, which links Carson City and the township of Ely. On this desolate 400-kilometre stretch of road, a single poplar tree has managed to take root. Over time, and in answer to a bewildering variety of human needs, hundreds of pairs of shoes have been hung from this solitary tree. …

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