‘Ordesa’ by Manuel Vilas: An Assertion of Goodness

by Corinne Leong

Literature is subjective: on this, most can agree. A novel provides a snapshot of the author’s world, a distillation of their values and beliefs. But sometimes there arises a snapshot so striking and definitive it resembles the universal. Manuel Vilas’ Ordesa (304 pages; Riverhead Books; translated by Andrea Rosenberg) is one such novel. In its unflinching exploration of parental loss, mortality, and solitary life through the eyes of a 52-year-old, recently bereaved divorcé, Ordesa offers a perspective so earnest it approaches unquestionable truth. Vilas’ novel is structured around its unnamed narrator’s reflections on his current, abysmal state of affairs, as well […]

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