Thursday, December 3, 2020

Eartheater by Dolores Reyes, translated by Julia Sanches: A Review



That was the first impression I had once I flipped to the last page of this story on my tablet last night. Whoa and I need to sleep on this.

I read this book in one sitting. Literally opened my tablet, loaded the book, and started reading. Less than two hours later the book was over and was just....stunned? maybe? Speechless? It's been 12 hours since I finished the book and I'm still sitting here trying to figure out what fascinated me the most, why I'm rating this so high but then not high enough.

First off, the writing style might irk some people. It's a rhythm that is necessary and before long, I barely noticed it. The voice of the story is very no nonsense, clear-cut almost because the impression given is that our lead, Eartheater, does not have the time or the energy to deal with anything that is not essentially important. She might ignore things but she has a reason for it and really, readers can't fault her for that.

I'd never heard of a story where a character with visions had to eat dirt/earth in order to see things. I was intrigued from the start when I saw the book title in the list of new eBooks from my city's library. I'd never heard of the book before that but I checked it out on impulse and I'm glad I did. It's a haunting story, literally. This one will stick with me for a long time.

At the same time, it is horrific. In the sense that Eartheater, who is never called by any other name except for Eartheater, has to eat the dirt that has been imbued with the essence of the missing, the lost, the dead, the forgotten. She eats their earth, closes her eyes and waits to see what happened to them. Are they dead? Buried? Left alone to rot? Or maybe, just maybe, is there a chance they are still alive? It's horrible to think about. No one should have to bear that kind of pain, be forced to witness these events and then suffer for knowing what happened. Because the point is, the inspiration for the story is the many murders and missing person cases that remain unsolved where author Dolores Reyes is from, in Argentina, particularly the cases involving women.

That's probably why I can't give it five stars, it makes me sick to think this is still so commonplace, so accepted in a way. I think I actually love this book, but at the same time I'm not sure I will ever read it again in its entirety. I will get a physical copy as soon as I am able to, I even wish my Spanish was better so I could read the book the way it was written. Julia Sanches did an incredible job with the translation, and it's worth reading her note at the end of the text about the struggles of bringing the essence of the story through into a different language. Even so, I still wish I had kept enough of my Spanish growing up so I could read this book in its original language. I wish there would be more to the story in the future but that's just me being greedy.

This book is perfect as a whole, worth reading to start a conversation, and worth keeping because it deserves to be known. Eartheater herself makes good choices, makes a small difference in a short amount of time but she does try. In the end, I wish I had her strength. I'll settle for a copy of the book on my shelf and encouraging other people to read it for themselves.

Rating on my Blog Scale: 9 Stars

Seriously, I'm perusing book sites and considering my bank balance because I WILL be getting a copy of this book as soon as I can reasonably do so. It was just a wow kind of book when all is said and done.

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