The Bitch by Pilar Quintana


In Colombia’s brutal jungle, childless Damaris develops an intense and ultimately doomed relationship with an orphaned puppy.


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Told in simple sentences that capture the complicated nature of being alive, this a brutal and beautiful short novel.

Damaris, a forty-something woman in a passionless marriage, lives in a small shack on the coast where every day is a struggle to survive. She is childless, something she never wanted to be, and she adopts a puppy to ease her sadness and loneliness. But the dog is a dog, a wild and willful creature that forces her to recognize some parts of herself that she prefers not to acknowledge.

It’s a story of loss, of guilt and betrayal set at the edge of a ruthless jungle; the battle between man and nature raging on. At times brutal, this is an emotional story of what a person can—and must—endure.

<3 Miranda

“The magic of this sparse novel is its ability to talk about many things, all of them important, while seemingly talking about something else entirely. What are those things? Violence, loneliness, resilience, cruelty. Quintana works wonders with her disillusioned, no-nonsense, powerful prose.” Juan Gabriel Vásquez, author of The Sound of Things Falling

The Bitch is a novel of true violence. Artist that she is, Pilar Quintana uncovers wounds we didn’t know we had, shows us their beauty, and then throws a handful of salt into them.” Yuri Herrera, author of Signs Preceding the End of the World

Colombia’s Pacific coast, where everyday life entails warding off the brutal forces of nature. In this constant struggle, nothing is taken for granted. Damaris lives with her fisherman husband in a shack on a bluff overlooking the sea. Childless and at that age “when women dry up,” as her uncle puts it, she is eager to adopt an orphaned puppy. But this act may bring more than just affection into her home. The Bitch is written in a prose as terse as the villagers, with storms―both meteorological and emotional―lurking around each corner. Beauty and dread live side by side in this poignant exploration of the many meanings of motherhood and love.

The Bitch by Pilar Quintana