Jesús Carrasco at Dystopias: Past, Present, and Future
Spanish author Jesús Carrasco will be joined by Christopher Brown and Alma Katsu to discuss their novels, each featuring different versions of dystopia across time and geographical divides.
The Virginia Festival of the Book presents the program Dystopias: Past, Present, and Future, where Spanish author Jesús Carrasco discusses his award-winning debut novel Out in the Open in a conversation with Christopher Brown (Tropic of Kansas) and Alma Katsu (The Hunger), moderated by Jennifer Alluisi.
Out in the Open
- Riverhead Books, 2017.
- Translated by Margaret Jull Costa, winner of the English PEN Award.
“From inside his hole in the ground, he heard the sound of voices calling his name.” So begins Out in the Open by award-winning Spanish author Jesús Carrasco. The boy crouching in the hole is fleeing from his family, hiding in a grave of his own making. He eventually emerges, but his destiny is not one of ease.
From its haunting opening words to its heartbreaking conclusion, Out in the Open is a stark novel. Carrasco’s debut has been a bestseller in Europe, earning him the English PEN Award, and has been published in over 25 languages. Riverhead Books published Margaret Jull Costa’s translation on July 4, 2017. His second novel won him the 2016 European Union Prize for Literature.
Out in the Open takes place in a chilling dystopia that calls to mind the bleakness of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road or Samuel Beckett’s theater. We’re introduced to a boy hiding beneath the ground from an armed mob sent to capture him, and we follow him as he flees across an unnamed, drought-stricken country ruled by unspeakable violence. As he crosses this barren landscape, he is faced with a choice that will determine the direction of the rest his life: choose hope and bravery, or live forever mired in the brutality with which he grew up.
A tale of life and death, right and wrong, terror and salvation, Out in the Open is simultaneously a heart-stopping adventure across a grim wasteland; a deeply moving story of a boy’s struggle to survive; and a frightening reflection of the anxieties of our times.
Bleak and beautiful debut novel… I found myself awake in the early morning hours reading about the trials of the characters in their merciless world… Carrasco’s incredibly clean, crisp language (as translated by Margaret Jull Costa), and his precise, deliberate exclusions.—New York Times Book Review
Beyond its timely themes of environmental catastrophe and forced migration, the book is written in spare, precise prose that lends it an epic feel.—Chicago Review of Books
Carrasco was born in Badajoz, Spain, and now lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. Out in the Open (Intemperie), his debut novel, was a huge bestseller in Spain, published in more than twenty-one countries, and is the winner of many international awards, including the European Union Prize for Literature 2016 and an English PEN award.
Christopher Brown, author of Tropic of Kansas, was nominated for a World Fantasy Award for the Three Messages and a Warning anthology. He has also worked on two Supreme Court confirmations and built an eco-bunker.
Alma Katsu, author of The Hunger, a re-imagining of the Donner Party with a supernatural twist, has also written, The Taker, which was one of Booklist’s Top Ten Debut Novels in 2011.
Jennifer Alluisi is the organizer of the Good Reads and Good Eats book club in Charlottesville. She is a lifelong book-lover who spends most of her free time reading at home with her husband and daughter, cross-stitching, and watching a wide variety of internet TV.