Manuel is growing up in Franco's Spain. He adores his elder sister, María, and they are watched over by their mother, who enjoys reciting poetry, and their father, a construction worker with vertigo. Beyond the walls of the house, he encounters chatty hairdressers and priests, wolf hunters and monstrous carnival effigies.
The community is still haunted by the civil war, yet Manuel's world is changing. Coca-Cola opens a factory nearby and news arrives of men landing on the moon. This is a story about family, memory and the experiences that make us who we are.
Beautiful... It resonates with memory, love and palpable grief... Rivas is special – funny, benign, opinionated. He tells wonderful stories because he learned early in life how to listen, and he listened to the soft, wise voices around him. Rivas misses nothing, and it is fascinating to see how, in The Low Voices, he does not tell us how he became a writer but shows us the people, such as his quiet, unassuming, determined mother, who helped make him one
One of Spain's best-known novelists... Rivas's imagery sparkles like dew in the morning sun
Rivas has an appealing lyrical style, an offbeat humour and a translator well attuned to both.
The nature of this book means it can be enjoyed as a single straight story or as individual chapters. It’s one to leave by the bedside, to dip into every now and then, and enjoy over and over. Something, I think, I’ll be doing a lot.
An affecting, impressionistic novel-cum-memoir. Like all great autobiographical writing, it pulls the magic trick of making the specific and personal universally appealing.