Spanish / Spain
Verne y la vida secreta de las mujeres planta
(Verne and the secret life of the plant women)
Madrid: Anaya, 2016. – 222 p.
Verne, Jules | Fantastical creature | Secret | Fantasy fiction
Reading age: 12+
White Ravens issue: 2017
The dust cover of this book features old apothecary jars, leaves, and blossoms, between which elf-like beings hide. This image captures the matter well: Ledicia Costas’s novel, which received the prestigious Premio Lazarillo in 2015, connects history, fantasy, and a dose of nostalgia. In colourful, multi-faceted language, the Galician author transports readers to the late 19th century. Starting point is Jules Verne’s real-life stay in the city of Vigo in 1884. The French author, so the novel would have us believe, arrives at the port city in 1884 in order to get to the bottom of the mysterious species of “plant women”. An adventurous plot unfolds from square one, cantered around three protagonists: Verne himself, a cabin boy named Pierre, and Violeta, a pharmacist’s granddaughter who is herself a plant woman. With a great sense for detail, atmosphere, local and period colour, Costas tells a suspenseful story which tightly interweaves the real and the fantastical.