Dicen los síntomas: XVI Tusquets Editores Novel Prize 2020

Every illness, with its symptoms, causes suffering and, in turn, can make us ask ourselves many questions: Are we leading the life we really want to lead? What will be left of us when we are no longer alive? Questions that perhaps we do not usually ask ourselves, but which may arise if we find ourselves in a situation like the one in which Virginia, the protagonist of Dicen los síntomas, the novel by Bárbara Blasco, winner of the 16th Tusquets Editores Novel Prize 2020, finds herself.

When we talk about symptoms we inevitably think of illness. And, if we think of illness, it is almost impossible not to think of death. And life. For both walk hand in hand. We are born and we die. Both facts are unquestionable. Illness, with its symptoms, is always lurking. No one is free and no one knows how or when. Nor how much suffering it will cause oneself or those we love

Summary: Dicen los síntomas (Bárbara Blasco)

Dicen los síntomas is the story of Virginia and the relationship she has with her mother and sister and with her father, whom she visits every day in the hospital where he is admitted due to an incurable illness. It is precisely in the last hours she spends with him that she reflects on her life, her projects, her dreams and her plans. At a time in her life when her only priority seems to be to have children, she also has to deal with confrontations with her mother and sister. During the days when she accompanies her father, Virginia watches him, filled with resentment. He was not the perfect father for her. Absent and more complacent with her sister, or so she defines him. However, she finds herself unable to leave him in his last hours

My personal view

Dicen los síntomas is a story of illness, of course, but also of loneliness and the courage to stand up for what we believe in. An excellent portrait of a woman in crisis, the novel is honest, intelligent and biting. Narrated in the first person, the work keeps the reader hooked from the start, it shines from the very first pages. Illness, death and life are portrayed with excellent realism and accompany us to reflect precisely now, in the hard times we are living through. A time of illness, perhaps of loneliness, but of course, and always, of hope

About the author: Bárbara Blasco

Bárbara Blasco (Valencia, 1972) has a degree in Journalism, has studied film directing at the Centre d’Estudis Cinematogràfics de Catalunya and film scriptwriting at the Escuela de Cine de San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba. She is the author of the novels Suerte (2013) and La memoria del alambre (2018). She currently collaborates with Valencia Plaza and teaches at the Fuentetaja Creative Writing Workshop.

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