Such Small Hands by Andrés Barba

In Such Small Hands by Andrés Barba (Portobello Books, 2017) a young girl, Marina, is sent to an orphanage after her parents die in a car crash that she survives. We learn in alternating perspectives of narration that both Marina and the orphaned girls love each other but can’t communicate it; their actions come out wrong and disconnected. Barba captures this strangeness of childhood with a dark mood that permeates the prose, which is brimming with repetition, abstractions, and vivid similes such as: “Like a glass, her face filled up with humiliation.” This story is chilling—it haunts you long after you’ve put down the 97-page novel. —Carolina VonKampen