The White Ravens Database

Presented by   Internationale Jugendbibliothek / International Youth Library

Spanish / Mexico

Alas como cuchillos

(Wings like knives)

Kühne, Catalina (text)
Serrano, Pablo (illus.)
México, D.F.: D.F.: CIDCLI, 2015. – 63 p.
ISBN 978-607-8351-42-8
coedition with CONACULTA; ISBN 978-607-745-108-2

Father  | Death  | Grief  | Mourning  | Pain

Reading age: 13+

White Ravens issue: 2016


“It’s not easy living with a bird in the chest!” – the first sentence states in this riveting and excellently composed book. Ever since his father’s funeral, a blackbird has been nesting in Alonso’s body – a secret he tells only his closest friend Chucho. The bird represents not only the boy’s grief and emotional pain. It is real, ever-present and causes the adolescent boy physical pain. This leads to some grim and disturbing scenes. Alonso suffers, is frustrated and engages in self-destructive acts to handle the pain. His condition worsens noticeably, until dramatically in the end the bird leaves his abused body. Catalina Kühne has written a stirring and unsettling narrative, where the borders between reality, imagination and fantasy are fluid and cleverly blurred. The concise text with its placid and figurative language permits multiple interpretations, thanks to the many things left unsaid.