Dogs of summer : a novel

by Abreu, Andrea, 1995-

Format: Print Book 2022
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"Read this coming-of-age story for its unsparing language and vivid sense of place."
--The New York Times

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.

High near the volcano of northern Tenerife, an endless ceiling of cloud cover traps the working class in an abject, oppressive heat. Far away from the island's posh resorts, two girls dream of hitching a ride down to the beach and escaping their horizonless town.

It's summer, 2005, and our ten-year-old narrator is consumed by thoughts of her best friend Isora. Isora is rude and bossy, but she's also vivacious and brave; grownups prefer her, and boys do, too. That's why sometimes she gets jealous of Isora, who already has hair on her vagina and soft, round breasts. But she's definitely not jealous that Isora's mother is dead, nor that Isora's fat, foul-mouthed grandmother has her on a diet, so that she is constantly sticking her fingers down her throat. Besides, she would do anything for Isora: gorge herself on cakes when her friend wants to watch, follow her to the bathroom when she takes a shit, log into chat rooms to swap dirty instant messages with strangers. 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.

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.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "The setting is Tenerife of the Canary Islands, but not the Tenerife of the rich and famous. This is the Tenerife of the working class who live there, far from the glamorous life. In the summer of 2005, two 10-year-old girls long for something beyond what they know. The narrator has the colorful if unfortunate nickname of Shit. Her best friend, Isora, seems older and is certainly more streetwise. Their relationship is a bit one-sided. Shit will do anything for Isora, who seems to care only about herself. Like the portrayals of girls in Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels, Abreu offers brave and unvarnished renderings of complicated female friendships, painful sexual awakenings (with an LGBTQ twist), and gritty dialects, but she is in a category by herself. Her prose is bold and direct, and her characterization of two similar but different girls on the cusp of adolescence is as vivid as anything being written today. This violent, graphic, scatological, and poetic debut is already slated for a screen adaptation."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Abreu's emotionally resonant debut charts the tumultuous friendship between two 10-year-old girls over the course of the summer of 2005 in the Canary Islands. The unnamed narrator is fascinated by her brazen and enigmatic friend, Isora, the granddaughter of Chela, an abusive matriarch who manages the neighborhood minimarket and cares for Isora after her mother's suicide. Isora calls the shots in the friendship and nicknames the narrator "Shit." In potent, stream-of-consciousness prose, Abreu details the girls' long summer days spent in each other's presence: the afternoons dedicated to memorizing the lyrics of Aventura songs, dipping their toes in the canal and imagining they're at San Marcos beach, and the timid narrator eating burnt cake just so Isora may watch her after the latter is forced into a diet by the overcritical Chela. (Isora also develops an eating disorder.) Along the way, Abreu ingeniously picks apart the submissive narrator's conflicting feelings of resentment, admiration, and sexual curiosity, and reveals the way these emotions quickly turn devastating once a traumatic assault changes the power dynamics upon which the girls' friendship is based. Abreu's exhilarating chronicle of a young friendship is not to be missed. (Aug.)"
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Additional Information
Subjects Bildungsromans.
Publisher New York :Astra House,2022
Edition First edition.
Other Titles Panza de burro.
Contributors Sanches, Julia, translator.
Language English
Description 180 pages ; 19 cm
ISBN 9781662601590
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