Solona, Teresa. “The First Prehistoric Serial Killer and Other Stories”, translated by Peter Bush, Bitter Lemon Press 2018.
I am not much of a short story reader and actually the only stories that I read are those collections that are sent to me for review. Perhaps that is why it has taken me so long to sit down and review this collection. The stories are divided into two groups— “Blood, Guts and Love” which consists of five stories including the title story and “Connections” that is made up of eight stories. The stories are quite dark and humorous and in them some of the strangest things happen. We meet two grandmothers who are killers and decomposing statues. “Connections” is made up of what the author calls Barcelona stories and they are connected by two criminal acts. Originally written in Catalan, the stories have been translated by Peter Bush and they reflect the lifestyle of the Iberian Peninsula.
I always face the question when reviewing an anthology as to write a few words about each story or review the entire book as a whole and because of the nature of the stories and the fact that saying too much can ruin the read for others, I decided to just look at the book as a whole. What we really get is a look at Barcelona with social commentary and in the “Connections” section we have a crime story with detective brothers working to solve it. Actually the stories are quite independent, there are common characters and situations and it is left to the reader to find the connections.
What seems to be universal to all of the stories is the ironic way that writer Teresa Solona satirizes Catalan life. There is a lot of wit here and we laugh with the writer; plus Borja and Eduard are characters that you are not likely to forget.