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Dogs of Summer

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As a child I was always very impressed by the fact that my mother had to clean other people's houses while those people went on vacation. The stream was cold, colder than the water that ran down the drains by Nana’s house first thing in the morning. It therefore advised men to "abstain all this time from women" and to "take heed of feeding violently". Dogs of Summer is a thoroughly immersive story of youth, with all of the inequities and frustrations thatthat implies. She painfully realizes that Isora is growing up faster, but admits that her own sexual desire is fixated on her friend: “Then I’d look at Isora and think about how I couldn’t touch her the way other girls touched and hugged, but maybe I could touch her in ways dat havnt evn been invntd, stroke the backs of her knees with my hand or run my fingers along the scabs that edged her toenails or rub the rolls of flesh that stuck out over her panties.

Isora was somewhere else, I realized, somewhere I couldn’t even see the beginning of, and for a second I felt scared. The writing is a crave inducing mix of bachatalyrics, Canary dialect, and the language of girlhood -- gritty, wild, poetic -- an exquisite feat by debut author Andrea Abreu and renowned translator Julia Sanches. Humid, grimy and adolescent; this book chronicles one sweaty summer break in the lives of two 10-year-old best friends growing up in a working-class neighborhood of the Canary Islands. This frank exploration of the work of growing up as a girl in a place with limited horizons (don’t forget the clouds!

In 2021, Andrea Abreu was included in Granta's new selection in a decade of the Best of Young Spanish Language Novelists.

It is the last remnant of savagery and sensuality before we are completely cut off from our connection with our body, our hunger, [and] our desire. There is so much shame that we inherit as we grow up, and Shit and Isora seem to be on the cusp of their sexuality, in the sweet spot between innocence and shame. Canonical "dog daies" were observed from July 7 to September 5 in the 16th-century English liturgies.

My Brilliant Friend meets Blue is the Warmest Color in this lyrical debut novel set in a working-class neighborhood of the Canary Islands--a story about two girls coming of age in the early aughts and a friendship that simmers into erotic desire over the course of one hot summer. Dogs of Summer is lyrical and vivid, yet its poetic language is intertwined with a prescient sense of danger and brutality.

There is a sense that the narrator is struggling to vocalize the intensity of her thoughts, only gradually grappling with what they mean. The story of two young girls growing up in a working-class neighborhood in the Canary Islands, near the volcano of northern Tenerife, invites comparisons with Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet. As for the rest of the neighborhood, everything but the houses was dark green, the color of the forest. Braiding prose poetry with bachata lyrics and the gritty humour of Canary dialect, Dogs of Summer is a brutal picture of girlhood in the 90s and a story, told with exquisite yearning, of a friendship that simmers into erotic desire over the course of one hot summer.Chela pulled off her slipper so she could hurl it at Isora’s head and screamed I’ll show you a beach, you little cunt!

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