This is the story of Aurora Ortiz, who lives in Madrid, and who, at the age of only thirty, has been widowed and needs to find a job. Although she is in no position to choose, she would ideally like to work as a caretaker in a quiet block of flats where she would just watch life pass by. Aurora's aspirations are simple and few, and with the help of her neighbour and friend Fany, who lends her a computer, she composes what she considers a suitable curriculum vitae and proceeds to tramp the streets of the city in search of work. With her vitality and freshness, her innocence, her unconventional intelligence and her relative lack of commercial ambition, Aurora Ortiz is a new type of heroine, one whose ethos and view of the world run contrary to most contemporary trends, she is a character who might have emerged from one of Pedro Almod-var's films. The means by which she comes to terms with the burden and pressures of modern life will strike chords with many of her own European generation.
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(198mm x 131mm x 12mm)
The Harvill Press
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication:
US Kirkus Review »
A unique first novel about a young woman living in Madrid who approaches bureaucracy with an infectious, innocent charm. Aurora Ortiz needs a job. Her intelligence is evident (she studied Latin and Greek and still reads classics) and her ambition is simple: She wants to be a building caretaker. But in order to apply for any kind of work, the 30-year-old widow has to register with an employment agency, draft a resume and cover letter and set up lengthy in-person interviews, even though there might not be available openings. Aurora, who was raised in a tiny Galician village, has brought to Madrid an unconventional approach to everything, including job hunting. Rather than taking the traditional route, Aurora writes long, honest letters to the agency, and through them her life story emerges. She pontificates on her neighbor Fany, a trained beautician and award-winning writer who is excited about her new job as a supermarket cashier; she praises her Aunt Domi back in the village of San Clemente de Quintas; and she poignantly reminisces about her adoring late husband Roberto. Though Fany and her Madrid friends question Aurora's technique, she thrives on the support of those back home (including new friend Clemente, who has taken a teaching post in the village). Eventually, her wacky persistence pays off when Guillermo, an officer in the employment agency, falls under the spell of her letters. Aurora is immensely likable, as quirky and enchanting as the title character of Amelie, and Solana's satire of the ridiculous complexity of so much red tape will resonate with anyone who has had to look for work. Delightfully original, Solana's fresh voice deserves attention. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Almudena Solana
ALMUDENA SOLANA was born in Galicia in 1963. She works as a press and television journalist in Madrid and writes and paints in her spare time. This is her first novel; a new novel is expected shortly.