An outsider arrives at a place laden with living history, where nothing is what it seems.
One winter night, a man arrives at Sallent de Santa Pau. Soon, the newcomer is commissioned to teach Mar, a thirteen-year-old girl. Her family is the axis around which all the lives of the valley of Ser revolve. "This girl will be lost," says her grandfather, a man who has the gift of finding water underground and giving orders without opening his mouth. To find out what it means to get lost, we have to walk the paths that connect the houses and experiences of the inhabitants of a valley where everyone arrives running away from something and only those who have not been able to leave remain. The stranger looks for the buried stories like a water diviner in the veins of water, and he paints a portrait of the valley and its people, of the time and the country, of its myths and of himself. The House of Fire is a work attached to reality and magic, a novel that seeks and finds, a story that travels through our present and tells us about the future, a book that must be read.
Proa Prize for the Novel
The House of Fire is the same Serés as always, but here he has gone further, confronting reality more deeply, a reality with more gestures, more features, more emotions, and of course with more mysteries, more shadows, more humanity, more green, and more moss.
If Serés is an “all-terrain” narrator, his is a literature of “contact,” of proximity, capable of giving a voice to those who did not have one up to now, to the disfavored, the forgotten of History with a capital H, those who have suffered personal or collective trauma.
This novel permits readers to share personal experiences in a kind of humanistic resocialization of the fabric of reality with an undeniably muscular ethic that distances itself from pure evasion and formal frivolity. A long, dense tale told in increasingly potent and humanized prose, with a seemingly effortless, natural and transparent style.
Jacqueline Chambon (France), Gran Via Edizioni (Italy), MacLehose (UK).