Piedras preciocas (Precious Stones)
The first novel by Clara Sanchez, winner of the Premio Alfaguara.
Suddenly, the silence in the house seems to envelop everything. Natalia has just taken her daughters to the airport and has nothing to do other than wait for her husband Constantino to get home from work. This is not the life she imagined for herself, not how she saw herself spending her forties. And so, when she is invited for a drink at a friend’s elegant home, she decides to go. But what should have been a relaxed evening catching up becomes something more. For Natalia meets the fascinating Raúl Montenegro. The shadowy adventurer enchants her with his tales and, in his company, Natalia finds once more a desire to live that she believed she had lost. For sometimes words have an unexpected power. From the next day, however, Natalia starts receiving strange messages, which fill her with doubt. She can’t find any way to explain Raúl’s behaviour: nothing during their first meeting gave her reason to suspect that she couldn’t trust him. Then he suggests a meeting but doesn’t turn up. In his place is a good friend who reveals that Raúl is not even in the city. Natalia can’t believe it, and understands that her meeting with Raúl that first night was no accident; he’s hiding something from her. But she can’t imagine that that something is a tangled web of lies and deceptions. And Natalia finds herself an unwitting pawn in a game that she can only win if she summons all the strength that she possesses.
Set in an unnamed city, the characters and their stories become tangled together, interweaving the infidelity of lovers, police and thieves, business, betrayal, hidden passions… An ironic, intimate portrait, drawn with a mastery rarely seen in an author’s debut work.
“Outstanding for its tone and style, which at once evoke tenderness, scepticism and delicacy, and for its strong sense of narrative rhythm” – El Pais
“The author’s unique quality lies in her style of writing” – Diario 16