cover image A Million Drops

A Million Drops

Víctor Del Árbol, trans. from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman. Other Press, $19.95 trade paper (640p) ISBN 978-1-59051-845-8

This relentless tale of individual crimes and systemic atrocities from Spanish author Del Árbol (The Sadness of the Samurai) opens in October 2001, not far from Barcelona, where Russian mobster Zinoviev drowns six-year-old Roberto Gil in a lake, in an apparent act of retaliation. Eight months later, the boy’s mother, Deputy Insp. Laura Gil, is implicated in Zinoviev’s death by torture and then commits suicide. Laura’s younger brother, small-time attorney Gonzalo Gil, is left to figure out how his father, Communist hero Elías Gil, was partly responsible for setting in motion the recent bloodshed and how the Matryoshka, a Russian criminal organization, is connected to the family’s past and present. The characters of Elías’s generation survive a Siberian gulag, the Spanish Civil War, and WWII, but lose their humanity along the way, tainting the lives of those around them. Drawing on some of the most heinous events of the 20th century, Del Árbol crafts a powerful but painful epic. (May)