Born in Madrid in 1951, Rosa Montero has been a journalist for Madrid’s daily newspaper, El Pais, since 1976. She has published 11 novels, many of which have been bestsellers in Spain. Beautiful and Dark is the third of Montero’s novels to be translated into English. Her previous translated works received acclaim from Kirkus Review and Library Journal, introducing Montero to U.S. audiences as an important voice in contemporary fiction. Montero, a critically acclaimed writer in her native Spain, is the recipient of her country’s most prestigious literary award, the Premio Primavera de Novela (for her 1997 novel La hija del canibal), as well as Italy’s Premio Grinzane Cavour for contemporary foreign fiction. She also won the Que Leer prize for her novel La Loca de Casa in 2003. Aside from being bestsellers, her novels are recognized for their literary merit and are studied in universities around the world.
To learn more about Rosa and her work, visit her website.
By Rosa Montero, Trans. by Adrienne Mitchell
Combining elements of the real and the fantastic, Beautiful and Dark (Bella y oscura) is written from the perspective of an orphaned girl taken to live with relatives in a derelict neighborhood at the edge of a city. Trying to cope with the mystery and violence of the adult world around her, she is drawn to the Lilliputian Airelei, who fascinates her with fantastic tales that mix myth and memory.
Beautiful and Dark…is a dramatization of the painful innocence of childhood when confronting the adult world, of the position of women, of love, of death, and of writing itself—the Beautiful and Dark writing that Rosa Montero has invented with intense and entertaining effectiveness in order to be loyal to her truth.
—Juan Antonio Masoliver Ródenas, La Vanguardia
Beautiful and Dark synthesizes the mixture that comprises the book well—a mixture of sordid social realism, existentialist orientation, and the mysterious, magical terror that depicts the unknown from the mythifying, childish perspective of a girl, whose experiences are a metaphor for unfulfilled desires.
—J.L. Martín Nogales, El Diario Vasco
In her most thoughtful novel to date, Rosa Montero brilliantly combines intrigue and imagination with personal insight into human nature.
—Javier Escudero, World Literature in Review