The Last Days of Terranova


Translated from by

Published: October 11, 2022


ISBN: 9781953861320, eisbn 9781953861337
This item will be released on October 4, 2022.


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Book Description

The Last Days of Terranova tells of Vicenzo Fontana, the elderly owner of the long-standing Terranova Bookstore, on the day it’s set to close due to the greed of real-estate speculators. On this final day, Vincenzo spends the night in his beloved store filled more than seventy years of fugitive histories. Jumping from the present to various points in the past, the novel ferries us back to Vicenzo’s childhood, when his father opened the store in 1935, to the years that the store was run by his Uncle Eliseo, and to the years in the lead-up to the democratic transition, which Vicenzo spent as far away from the bookstore as possible, in Madrid. Like the bookstore itself, The Last Days of Terranova is a space crammed with stories, histories, and literary references, and as many nooks, crannies, and complexities, brought to life in Rivas’s vital prose.

Rivas' sentences are aflame with philosophy and well-wrought beauty; beauty that, at times, supersedes the narrative itself. Rogers' translation from the original Galician is lucid and musical. . . As beautifully incongruous as a human mind.
Kirkus Reviews


Rivas is an important storyteller because he is sensitive and he has an incredible ear, which, in his fiction, is allied to great ingenuity.
John Berger

Beautiful . . . It resonates with memory, love and palpable grief . . . Rivas is special – funny, benign, opinionated. He tells wonderful stories because he learned early in life how to listen, and he listened to the soft, wise voices around him.
—Eileen Battersby, Irish Times Books of the Year (on The Low Voices)

Rivas's delicate, restrained magical realism, limpidly translated, deploys Galician folklore to lend a mythic resonance to Spain's painful passage from rural life to urban modernity. The result is a poignant, lyrical meditation on the disenchantments of history.
Publishers Weekly on In the Wilderness

A startling novel. I have rarely read a piece of writing so poetic.
The Daily Telegraph, on The Carpenter's Pencil

Manuel Rivas reads like no-one else on the planet . . . one of those novels to lavish on friends . . . Manuel Rivas’s sweeping novel, translated into English for the first time, is an undoubted classic.
Scotsman, on Books Burn Badly

Manuel Rivas has written a beautiful novel, filled with tenderness and humanity.
Arturo Perez-Reverte on The Carpenter’s Pencil

Rivas is a master… His pages bloom like flowers, swerving in unpredictable arcs toward a light-source that is constantly moving.
Bookforum on The Carpenter’s Pencil

The Carpenter's Pencil is a strange and haunting novel, seamlessly translated (by Jonathan Dunne), a sincere and beautiful portrait of a brutal, ugly period of Spanish history.
Stephanie Merrit, The Guardian