Cautery | Anagrama, 2022

In a prose indebted to Bret Easton Ellis and Mercè Rodoreda, full of sarcasm, irony, and mystery, Lucía Lijtmaer has written a consummate novel about running away from pain as a form of survival and rebellion against contemporary gender roles.

It’s the summer of 2014. A young woman has just been abandoned by her significant other, and she flees Barcelona for Madrid, convinced that the apocalypse is coming. Four centuries before, another woman––Deborah Moody, whom history will recall as the most dangerous woman in the world––is obliged to emigrate to North America with a very different secret of her own. What do these two women have in common? Why have they decided to leave everything they know and start again?

Their voices detail two crossed stories about violence and hypocrisy, witches and healers. About Salem as the possibility of a world where something can bear fruit far from judgment and condemnation. About Barcelona as a city hacked, soulless, crushed by gentrification, on the edge of collapse, where falling in love is an illness and nothing can be saved. Or can it?

At the same time, she portrays the city as another character, proud and abandoned, looking at its inhabitants over its shoulder as if to say: I’m still here, despite everything. Go down with me. Against self-destruction, the author proposes a radical solution: burn it all down. That’s the only way the wound will cauterize.