Spanish / Mexico
La partida / La madre y la muerte
(The departure / The mother and Death)
Laiseca, Alberto (text)
Arispe, Nicolás (illus.)
México: D.F.: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2015. –  p. +  p.
(Series: Los Especiales de A la Orilla del Viento)
Death | Transience | Motherly love | Picture book
White Ravens issue: 2016
Reading age: 10+
This book presents two stories that are connected in the middle of the book by a common final illustration. They are macabre, brutal, unsettling stories about death, which goes about its business laconically and ironically, and also about motherly love and the futile battle to reverse fate. Argentinian author Alberto Laiseca (b. 1941) turns Hans Christian Andersen’s “Story of a mother” into an even darker parable about a mother who stoically sacrifices herself to win her dead child back. In “La partida” by Mexican author Alberto Chimal (b. 1970), a woman receives the soul of her deceased child back from the gods, which turns out to be an even greater misfortune, as the corpse continues to decay. The short texts evoke the poetic, suggestive sounds and rhythms of old myths and fairy tales and are illustrated by Argentinian Nicolás Arispe (b. 1978). His electrifying double-page black-and-white drawings are dramatic, mysterious, pregnant with symbolism and literary and cultural allusions.