New Book: Margarita García Robayo’s “Holiday Heart”


Margarita García Robayo—a writer from Cartagena, on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, and now based in Buenos Aires, Argentina—has recently had two of her novels translated into English by Charlotte Coombe, and published by Charco Press: Fish Soup (2018) and Holiday Heart (2020). She is also the author of Hay ciertas cosas que una no puede hacer descalza (Barcelona: Ediciones Destino, 2010), Lo que no aprendí (Buenos Aires: Planeta, 2013), Cosas peores (Bogota: Alfaguara, 2014), Tiempo muerto (Bogota: Alfaguara, 2017), and Primera persona (Lima: Pesopluma, 2017). Here is a description of Holiday Heart. [Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.]

Description: Lucía and Pablo are Colombian immigrants who’ve built their lives together in the US yet maintain conflicting attitudes towards their homeland and the extent to which it defines their identity. After undergoing fertility treatment, Pablo finds himself excluded from raising their twins, and the new family situation seems to question the very nature of their relationship and of who they believed they were.

In search of respite and time to reflect, Lucía takes the kids to her parents’ apartment in Miami. Meanwhile, Pablo learns he is suffering from a syndrome known as ‘Holiday Heart’. But is this just a break, or is it really the final days of their marriage?

From internationally acclaimed author Margarita García Robayo, and following the success of Fish Soup (selected by the TLS as one of the Best Books of 2018), comes this visceral dissection of the American Dream. With subtle, cutting humour she depicts the prejudices and snobbery of this immigrant family, and the selfishness and vulnerability of a couple whose emotional exhaustion has driven them apart. An acutely observed novel on displacement, the complexities of class and racism, and the end of love.

Margarita García Robayo (Cartagena, Colombia, 1980) is the author of three novels, a book of autobiographical essays and several collections of short stories, including Cosas peores (Worse Things), which won the Casa de las Américas Prize in 2014. Her work has appeared in several anthologies such as Región: cuento político latinoamericano (Political Latin American Short Stories, 2011) and Childless Parents (2014). In 2013, she was awarded a Literary Creation Grant from the Han Nefkens Foundation and the Pompeu Fabra University. Her books have been published in Latin America as well as in Spain, and have been translated into French, Portuguese, Italian, Hebrew and Chinese. Holiday Heart is her second book to appear in English.

Charlotte Coombe is a British literary translator, working from French and Spanish. Her translation of Abnousse Shalmani’s Khomeini, Sade and Me (2016) won a PEN Translates award in 2015. She has translated novels by Anna Soler-Pont and Asha Miró, Marc de Gouvenain, as well as some non-fiction works, and short stories and poetry by Edgardo Nuñez Caballero, Rosa María Roffiel and Santiago Roncagliolo for the online publication Palabras Errantes. She is the translator of Eduardo Berti’s novel The Imagined Land (2018). This is her third title for Charco Press, after Ricardo Romero’s The President’s Room (2017).

“Holiday Heart” Margarita García Robayo
Translated by Charlotte Coombe
Charco Press, June 2020
150 pages
ISBN 978-1999368449

For more information, see

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