Margarita García Robayo
Translated by Charlotte Coombe
Published by Charco Press, 2020
Lucía and Pablo are Colombian immigrants who’ve built their lives together in the US yet maintain conflicting attitudes towards their homeland and the extent to which it defines their identity. After undergoing fertility treatment, Pablo finds himself excluded from raising their twins, and the new family situation seems to question the very nature of their relationship and of who they believed they were.
In search of respite and time to reflect, Lucía takes the kids to her parents’ apartment in Miami. Meanwhile, Pablo learns he is suffering from a syndrome known as ‘Holiday Heart’. But is this just a break, or is it really the final days of their marriage?
From internationally acclaimed author Margarita García Robayo, and following the success of Fish Soup (selected by the TLS as one of the Best Books of 2018), comes this visceral dissection of the American Dream. With subtle, cutting humour she depicts the prejudices and snobbery of this immigrant family, and the selfishness and vulnerability of a couple whose emotional exhaustion has driven them apart. An acutely observed novel on displacement, the complexities of class and racism, and the end of love.
“Charlotte Coombe’s translation is sharp, daring, and delightful. […]in Coombe’s words, these characters sound just as jagged, brittle, and lost as Robayo wrote them” - Dorothy Potter Snyder
“Coombe’s connection with García Robayo’s narrative voice continues in Holiday Heart: she explores a wide range of slang both contemporary and (for purposes of characterisation) out-dated, and maintains the delicate balance of García Robayo’s prose, which switches seamlessly from the understated to the exuberant, the base to the profound." - Helen Vassallo
“(…) considered, poetic, and sharp translation work by Charlotte Coombe” - Books & Bao
“What a treat, Robayo’s prose is cutting, sardonic, precise and witty, brilliantly translated by Coombe.” - Jessenana
Praise for Fish Soup by Margarita García Robayo:
“In Coombe’s hands, García Robayo’s prose is concise and startling, her voice versatile and capable of packing a serious punch.” - Ellen Jones, LA Review of Books
“The tackiness of the Caribbean coast and its discontents are marvellously rendered by the translator, Charlotte Coombe, who also achieves the holy grail: a natural sounding slang". - Lorna Scott Fox, Times Literary Supplement
[…]Charlotte Coombe’s translation manages at once to convey the beauty of the imagery as well as the contemporary significance—on both a local and global scale—of the social justice issues. The result is one of the most essential books of the year” - Sarah Booker, Asymptote