cover image After the Winter

After the Winter

Guadalupe Nettel, trans. from the Spanish by Rosalind Harvey. Coffee House (Consortium, dist.), $16.95 trade paper (264p) ISBN 978-1-56689-525-5

Tracing two lives on two continents, Nettel’s novel is an engrossing examination of what happens before and after a brief affair. In New York, misogynistic book editor Claudio, originally from Cuba, romances an older woman he doesn’t respect, and depends on a precise routine each day. Across the Atlantic, Cecilia settles in Paris, far from her home in Mexico, to work on a postgraduate degree, and starts a relationship with her ill bookseller neighbor, Tom, who is obsessed with cemeteries. Tom leaves for Sicily in hopes of spiritually confronting his disease, and while he’s away, Cecilia meets Claudio, who is traveling abroad with his lover, through a mutual friend. The pair strikes up a whirlwind romance that continues once Claudio returns to New York. Though this illicit relationship fizzles, the duo is uniquely changed by their time together—Cecilia amplifies her dedication to Tom; Claudio turns his attention to running marathons—and as Nettel (The Body Where I Was Born) chronicles Cecilia and Claudio’s return to normalcy, the impact of their fleeting romance ripples through their relationships and decisions. Nettel’s sharp, potent novel depicts how even the briefest relationship can affect the rest of a life. (Sept.)