A postcard landscape where water runs, trees provide shade and birds give us their song.
“Locus amoenus” is what Theocritus and Virgil called the idyllic setting offered to us by nature. A postcard landscape where water runs, trees provide shade and birds give us their song. Consuelo López-Zuriaga found this place in the La Vera de Gredos region. In 2015, this cosmopolitan woman used to dealing with world injustice in the field of humanitarian aid, decided to leave behind her successful career and Madrid to join her husband in a country house near Villanueva de la Vera. There, on the slopes of the Sierra de Gredos, she wrote her first novel, entitled “Quizás en Otoño” (Maybe in Autumn), a finalist for the prestigious Nadal Prize 2021: a book in which fiction is intertwined with the author’s personal experiences.
Although the plot seems dramatic, the book is a hymn to life. Of course, a different life with different priorities, where nature, in this case La Vera, has a healing effect.
It is not surprising that La Vera acquires so much prominence in this story. It constitutes the setting for the final denouement, where the main characters in search of their “locus amoenus” find peace with themselves. La Vera serves as a stage for reinvention and for the union with the essentials of life, as well as a salvation for the couple at all levels. This journey into nature is however not idealized. Claudia, the main character, a brilliant lawyer working in the defense of human rights and who could be defined as a cultured urbanite, finds it difficult to adapt to the rural world until she learns to enjoy it with all her senses.
Claudia’s ups and downs, her choices and her sometimes contradictory emotions set the pace for the novel. The author, who recognizes that she identifies with her female character, through the life experience of her heroine investigates the transformative processes that make up a life. With a refined, simple style and a fresh tone, the novelist tells us how her protagonist’s life takes a radical turn when her partner Mauricio is diagnosed with a terminal cancer. Although the plot seems dramatic, the book is a hymn to life. Of course, a different life with different priorities, where nature, in this case La Vera, has a healing effect.
The protagonists arrive to the paradise that is La Vera after a life of exciting experiences around the world. Both Mauricio, a reporter used to covering news from conflict zones abroad, and Claudia, an international NGO executive, are travelers with a refined sense of curiosity. In Madrid, they are part of an intellectual bourgeois environment where the taste for art and good food are key. With humor, affection and a hint of irony, the author describes these friendships rooted in Madrid’s well-to-do bubble. The sudden appearance of illness puts these mundane references in place. Friendships are strengthened and values turn towards other more vital matters. And here we turn to La Vera, where the explosion of autumn colors, the smell of damp earth and the song of the birds create an explosion of the senses, a world where life flows like the water of the gorges and where disease and death are part of an undramatic natural cycle.
«Quizás en Otoño»
Editorial, Baile del Sol Ediciones