Saturday, 5 November 2016

Berta La Larga by Cuca Canals

Berta La Larga by Cuca Canals
First published in Spanish in Spain by Plaza And Janes in 1996. English translation by Sonia Soto published by Anchor in 1998.

This is my 1990s read for the 2016-17 Goodreads / BookCrossing Decade Challenge.
I registered my copy of this book on BookCrossing.

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy from independent booksellers via Alibris
Buy the book from

How I got this book:
Bought at a charity shop

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Berta, born under a rainbow, has special gifts. And she is very, very tall. Depressed by her height, she has grown into a quiet, introverted girl. However, at 16 she falls in love with a very tall postman and finds that her moods have an amazing effect on the weather and just about everything else.

I am blogging my review of Berta La Larga today to coincide with my WorldReads post over on my Stephanie Jane. This blog series on the 5th of each month highlights global literature, today looking to Spain.

Berta La Larga is an utterly charming book which I enjoyed reading. It is billed as Young Adult, but I think it is more fable or fairytale than anything else. I liked the quirky illustrations dotted about and various characters thanking the reader at the end is a nice touch. The story itself is an eternal tale of young love thwarted by a traditional feud, in this case between two neighbouring villages. Canals throws in an improbable-but-true legend and some superb caricature characters, a sorely put-upon donkey and some extreme weather to create her wonderfully fantastical tale. Actually, thinking about it, the weather would have been seen as far more incredible when this book was written twenty years ago. Climate change is making it almost normal now!

I did feel for poor Berta in her debilitating shyness and repression. Her romance with postman Jonas is cute and convincing. Fellow villagers steal the show here though and Berta La Larga is frequently a witty and insightful satire into the worst of human nature.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Cuca Canals / Young adult books / Books from Spain

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