Animals at the End of the World begins with an explosion, which six-year-old Inés mistakes for the end of the world that she has long feared. In the midst of the chaos, she meets the maid’s granddaughter, Mariá, who becomes her best friend and with whom she navigates the adult world in her grandparents’ confined house. Together, they escape the house and confront the “animals” that populate Bogotá in the 1980s. But Inés soon realizes she cannot count on either María or her preoccupied and conflicted parents. Alone, she must learn to decipher her outer and inner worlds, confronting both armies of beasts and episodes of domestic chaos. In the process, she also learns what it means to test boundaries, break rules, and cope with the consequences.
The first novel by Colombian author Gloria Susana Esquivel, Animals at the End of the World is a poetic and moving coming-of-age story that lingers long after its final page.
Gloria Susana Esquivel teaches in the creative writing master’s program at the Instituto Caro y Cuervo in Bogotá and has one published book of poems, El lado salvaje. This is her first novel.
Robin Myers is a Mexico City–based translator, poet, and author of Conflations/Amalgama, among other collections published in Mexico, Argentina, and Spain.
[Esquivel's] words are stripped to the bone, and they glisten—or perhaps I should say Myers’s words, which can be best praised through negation: as a native Spanish speaker, I’ll browse through originals when reading their English translations (even great ones will flounder at times), but I didn’t feel the need to do that once here. Myers has spawned her own mighty beast.
[Esquivel] offers a kids' eye view on a fragmented family, but she also uses her young protagonist to explore the blinders of race and class that exist within her world. [Animals at the End of the World is] a meticulously written book that doesn't feel meticulous at all, adding to its charm.
— Words Without Borders
Animals at the End of the World is a poetic and moving coming-of-age story that lingers long after its final page.
— Latin American Literature Today
[Animals at the End of the World] is a tour de force that stands out as the voice of a generation, offering shrewd insights into a country, an era, and a cohort marked forever.
— Word Literature Today
Gloria Esquivel’s debut is an agile coming-of-age story, deceptively simple but touching on universal themes … and even what it means to be a girl in Colombia. Animals at the End of the World is the kind of book that lingers in the mind and is gradually revealed to the reader as an epiphany.
— Sergio Ávila, Vice
Gloria Susana Esquivel separates the egoistic, sad, often unsuccessful or pathetic world of adults from the heart yearning for love of a human being who is losing, painfully and permanently, the skin of innocence.
— Piedad Bonnett, poet, novelist, and playwright, winner of Colombia's national prize for poetry
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