Out in the Open by Jesús Carrasco in Chicago
Spanish author Jesús Carrasco presents his award-winning debut novel in a conversation with local writer Miguel Jiménez, and journalist and book critic Adam Morgan.
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
About Jesús Carrasco
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.
About Adam Morgan
Adam Morgan is the editor-in-chief of the Chicago Review of Books, a contributing writer at Chicago magazine, and a book critic at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. His writing has appeared in the Paris Review, The Guardian, Poets & Writers, Literary Hub, among others.
About Miguel Jiménez
Miguel Jiménez was born and raised on Chicago’s South Side. Before enrolling in the MFA Creative Writing program at Fresno State, he received his B.A. in English Creative Writing from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. He was a contributing writer for Café Magazine, and assistant editor for the Chicago Artists’ News.