Fina Casalderrey is one of Galicia’s most successful writers of children’s and young adult fiction and taught for many years at secondary level. She has published more than forty books and twice been nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (in 2010 and 2012). In 1996 she was awarded the Spanish National Prize for Literature for The Mystery of Lúa’s Children. Her works have been included in the White Ravens Catalogue (Marriage Forbidden, Papa! and Who Wants to Adopt Me?). She has also written on Galician gastronomy. Her works have been translated widely inside Spain, and into English, French, Italian, Korean and Portuguese.
Photograph © Mariano García
DOVE AND CUT THROAT synopsis
Dove and Cut Throat (176 pages) is one of Fina Casalderrey’s more recent novels, first published in 2007, which has been translated into Spanish. It is divided into twenty-two chapters. A teenager, André, is bullied at school by Raúl Pernas and others, and has difficulties knowing how to present himself in order to avoid problems. To a friend, Halima, he admits he needs help lifting himself off the ground from time to time; to others, he presents himself as more aggressive, someone they shouldn’t mess with. He has another friend he chats with on the Internet. Her chat-name is Dove, and he is Cut Throat.
DOVE AND CUT THROAT
‘Yeah, I like birds, so what? Just because I have a thing about them, don’t believe it, that’s another story. There’s stuff that won’t let me sleep, I’m warning you. Recently I’ve started getting up at night, going to the kitchen, grabbing the sharpest knife I can find and then heading straight for the exit with the aim of sticking the knife in the chest of whoever has hurt me at some point in my life. I have to be restrained because I’m out of my mind. There are times I even have to be tied with ropes until I calm down, just in case I succumb to another fit… I want you to know that accepting my friendship means belonging to a high-risk group because, I’m telling you, when I fly off the handle…’
I had to intimidate them somehow. School had turned into a place where I was failing on a daily basis. Every morning, when I went in, I looked at those walls and felt like running away, as if from fire. Putting up with all the abuse day after day was pretty hard, and there was no way I was going to bother my mother with all that nonsense. I quickly realized that at school it was your appearance that mattered.
When they found out I had a bird in my rucksack, I couldn’t let them spread that rumour about me being a softie, I couldn’t stand being humiliated all over again, so I used the same methods as Raúl Pernas and his gang. I put on a show. As a result of my outburst, there were fewer jokes, that’s for sure. As for Halima, she deserved an explanation, but where am I supposed to begin? Do I tell her, ‘The point is I’m a kind of swift, living in the air all the time, and if I fall to the ground, I need a helping hand to help me take flight again,’ or say, ‘It’s just I’m tired of playing the autistic parrot my grandpa saved’?