(I'm excited - can you tell?)
Senor Redwood has kindly forwarded this to me - a very positive review of Buscando a Tatiana - the Spanish translation of Trading Tatiana - written by Zeki, editor of Gangsterera.
(Clearly an enlightened and highly intelligent individual with wonderful taste in literature.)
My lovely man in Spain has also been kind enough to provide me with a translation.
'Looking for Tatiana (El Tercer Nombre) by the English writer Debi Alper reminds me of another novel which at the time, despite its undoubted qualities, passed more or less unnoticed through the commercial bookshop sector without attracting much critical interest. I’m referring to The Dwarves of Death by Jonathan Coe, another English writer. Both novels portray English society from the viewpoint of hopeless (’defeated’) young people who expect little from an establishment which has already destined them to the most menial tasks. They move through the underworld of the ghettoes relying on social aid, somewhere between the world of outcasts and libertarian and creative bohemia, resisting the failure looming over them with a mixture of hope, making do with the least possible, and a belief, somewhere between idealist and disillusioned, in the eternal values of solidarity and brotherhood.'
It's interesting that he's picked up on the way the book has passed under the general radar.
But he's also been very astute in sussing out the underlying themes of the book:
'The story combines the flight of the two young women in a kind of interior immigration. Tatiana, an immigrant from an eastern European country, fights to escape the clutches of unscrupulous compatriots intent on keeping her as a sex slave, while Jo, a permanent exile on the edges of the welfare state, strives for a place in this society which is denied her.
We are presented with the radiography of a cosmopolitan and variegated society which hides its social deficiencies under the cosmetic of a savage liberalism. However, the novel delves into the tiny opportunities left by hope, gambling on human relations free of spurious interests, struggling to give birth to an optimism that ends up by proving itself to be almost impossible.
A special sensitivity in the creation of the characters gives us a highly evocative reading experience that allows us to glimpse the challenges confronting the younger generations. Spaces of utopia won’t be created without victims – but they will be created: that is the final message of this text that goes beyond the usual clichés.'