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Dogs of Summer

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As for the rest of the neighborhood, everything but the houses was dark green, the color of the forest. Braiding prose poetry with bachata lyrics and the gritty humor of Canary dialect, Dogs of Summer is a story of exquisite yearning, a brutal picture of girlhood and a love song written for the vital community it portrays. In the early 20th century, historians still noted the "discouraging heat" and "oppression" of the dog days of the Roman summer. It's also, in Andrea Abreu's telling and Julia Sanches's translation, a fascinating study of itsnarrator's method of seeing the world. Isora ran behind the fridgerators and started muttering foquin bitch, foquin bitch, I wish you’d die, you foquin bitch.

They were removed from the prayer books at the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 and their term shortened to the time between July 19 and August 20. In playful and arresting prose Abreu’s story depicts queerness on the cusp of puberty, and a vibrant community built in the shadow of an active volcano. My Brilliant Friend meets Blue is the Warmest Color in this lyrical debut novel set in a working-class neighborhood of the Canary Islands--a story about two girls coming of age in the early aughts and a friendship that simmers into erotic desire over the course of one hot summer. Finance is provided by PayPal Credit (a trading name of PayPal UK Ltd, Whittaker House, Whittaker Avenue, Richmond-Upon-Thames, Surrey, United Kingdom, TW9 1EH).

And below that you had Eufrasia’s house, and below her lived a cousin of Nana’s whose house was surrounded by grapevines and orange trees and who people said kept two women under his roof, his wife and her sister, who was like their servant, because his sister-in-law took care of the property while his wife just sat around all dollied up, and below that you had Melva’s house, and then the gayhouse, and then Conchi’s house, and right below Conchi’s was Isora’s minimarket, and opposite the minimarket was the cultural center, and below the cultural center was the bar, and below the bar was Doña Carmen’s house, and beyond that I had no idea, because as far as I was concerned Doña Carmen’s house was the end of the world.

This is the tale of 2 young girls growing up poor in the hot, cloudy, volcanic foothills of Tenerife. Shit’s desires for Isora manifest as desire to be her best friend, to kiss her, to touch her, but also to actually be her, to consume her. Dogs of Summer is lyrical and vivid, yet its poetic language is intertwined with a prescient sense of danger and brutality. Isora was somewhere else, I realized, somewhere I couldn’t even see the beginning of, and for a second I felt scared.The stream was cold, colder than the water that ran down the drains by Nana’s house first thing in the morning. And, all of a sudden, itleaves you stranded on a rich and prophetic insular world of women and low, grey, clouds that mergewith the sea. That's why sometimes she gets jealous of Isora, who already has hair on her vagina and soft, round breasts. I pictured him all grown up with a tomato cupped in his hands as the men around him said Juanita Banana this and Juanita Banana that, and he looked all glum as he thought back on the time when he was a lilboy who played Barbies with us and Ken dolls with us and used the Barbie doll to say: Heygirlmyname’sChaxiraxiandI’mcute. When the piercing power and sultry heat of the sun abate, and almighty Zeus sends the autumn rains, and men's flesh comes to feel far easier,—for then the star Sirius passes over the heads of men, who are born to misery, only a little while by day and takes greater share of night—then, when it showers its leaves to the ground and stops sprouting, the wood you cut with your axe is least liable to worm.

Isora and Shit explore one another’s bodies but ignore the reality of their actions by never acknowledging the feelings they have for one another.Every crushing, toxic, excruciating, loving, difficult and unboundaried female friendship came hurtling back to me in a tumultuous wave while reading this book, all the sores and salves of a coming-of-age relationship are here in details that feel almost too sacred to be told, but universalised in their telling. Juanita hated studying, and his dad was always saying that if he didn’t study he’d send him to pick tomatoes in the fields, and sometimes I suspected that it was more than just a threat and that his dad really did want him to start picking tomatoes as a lilboy. Dogs of Summer does a good job unnerving a reader in any language; it’s about girls navigating the complexities of being on the cusp of puberty as their bodies become increasingly more unrecognizable to them. But increasingly, our narrator finds it hard to keep up with Isora, who seems to be growing up at full tilt without her—and as her submissiveness veers into a painful sexual awakening, desire grows indistinguishable from intimate violence. This slim novel’s scope and intensity are shockingly, magnificently large, and the sentences blast off the pages with all the sordidness and wonder of early adolescence.

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