On the Edge

On the Edge

Author: Rafael Chirbes

Translator: Margaret Jull Costa

Original language: Spanish

Published by: Harvill Secker, July 2016

On the Edge opens with the discovery of a rotting corpse in the marshes on the outskirts of Olba, Spain — a town wracked by despair after the burst of the economic bubble.

Stuck in this town is Esteban — much of the novel unfolds in his raw and tormented monologues. But other voices resound from the wreckage and their words, sharp as knives, crowd their terse, hypnotic monologues of ruin, prostitution and loss.

Chirbes alternates this choir of voices with a majestic third-person narration, injecting a profound and moving lyricism and offering the hope that a new vitality can emerge from the putrid swamps.