Book Notes: Sara Mesa’s Un amor

I’m in North Carolina, and it’s very warm. Today is a bad day in the war, so I’m not in a great place. While I traveled, I read a novel titled Un amor by the Spanish writer Sara Mesa. This novel is from 2020, so it hasn’t been translated yet, but Mesa’s earlier novels have appeared in translation. I particularly recommend Scar. It’s very good.

Mesa is one of the leading Spanish writers today. She’s my age, which is youngish for an author, and Mesa’s skill grows massively from one novel to another. Un amor is very good. Clear, unpretentious, strong writing. I rarely see my own experience in the literary depictions of love but what Mesa describes is exactly what I understand as love. It’s intense, relentless, and obsessive.

An excellent novel that helped me not think about the war all the time. I can’t tell you, friends, how exhausting it is to live completely dependent on the damn war. A Ukrainian who’s under the bombs every day wrote today that we shouldn’t let the war reduce the amount of happiness that exists in the world, and that people who are safe should go do things he can’t do and really enjoy them. But it’s hard.

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