My Father’s House
by Karmele Jaio
Ismael, a successful novelist, has been suffering from writer’s block for two years, trying to get inside his female narrator’s head and failing. However, he tells no one about this problem and continues to spend each day in his study, supposedly writing. When his mother is taken into hospital, he is forced to spend time with his father who has the beginnings of dementia. This experience carries him back to a moment in his childhood that has remained hidden away in his memory until then.
Jasone, Ismael’s wife, has always been his first reader and editor. As a student, she used to write, but has devoted the last decade of her life to her daughters and to her husband’s career. Now that the girls have left home, Jasone finds herself drawn to ideas and causes she believed were the domain of her best friend Libe, as well as to an old flame, who is also her husband’s publisher. The rape of a young woman in a nearby town triggers something in Jasone, and she begins spending her nights at her computer writing a novel she never expected to write. When the couple’s respective secrets are revealed, everything will change.
With intelligence and wisdom, Karmele Jaio brilliantly dissects the complexities of relationships of all kinds, never coming down on one side, but allowing her characters space to evolve and take up roles of their own making.
Translator: Margaret Jull Costa, Sophie Hughes