So here's a new book from Europa Editions, a great small publishing house featuring mostly European titles in translation.
The Frost on His Shoulders by Lorenzo Mediano, translated by Lisa Dillman
Here's a synopsis from Shelf Awareness by Nick DiMartino:
"Lorenzo Mediano's The Frost on His Shoulders is a tight little masterpiece, told by an unnamed rural schoolteacher who begins by assuring us that the half column of print buried deep in the newspaper was wrong about the tragedy that happened in November 1934, in a small village in the Spanish Pyrenees. "Of course, I might be wrong," he qualifies; "no one ever really knows for sure what dwells in men's hearts."
Ramón Gallar is a bright, handsome boy with blue eyes, a shepherd since he was eight, who loves reading and borrows books from the schoolteacher. He falls in love with Alba, the daughter of wealthy Don Mariano, the most powerful man in the mountains. Ramón works long, exhausting hours, saving the pittance he earns for a life with her.
Scornfully rejected by the girl's father, Ramón defies Don Mariano, swearing that he will return with money, and becomes the legendary smuggler known as the Desperado, working the border into France. There's a folkloric, larger-than-life quality to Mediano's style of narration--like a tale told so often everyone knows it by heart--as the epic showdown between Ramón and Don Mariano draws near.
Laced with the fears and beliefs of a brutal mountain world, the novel builds relentlessly to an unexpectedly horrifying ending. Every twist and turn in the story is crucial, and Mediano's melancholy schoolteacher brings it to a perfect surprise ending. The Frost on His Shoulders is an old-fashioned folktale of forbidden love told with genuine suspense, unabashed enthusiasm for the genre and breathtaking control."
Looks like a great story! What do you think?