A poignant, compassionate glimpse into the life of a child caught in a country at war with itself
Albi is nine years old when Franco’s soldiers arrive in the village and his life begins to change in confusing ways. It’s not clear quite who should be trusted and who should not. Some neighbours disappear not to be seen again, others are hidden from view in cellars and stables – like his brother, Manolo, who left long ago to join the resistance. Albi is charged with shepherding not just his own sheep, but also those of El Ciego who sends him on errands requiring a good memory and the ability to keep his mouth shut at all times.
Alberto, at 88, is haunted by what he did and what he may or may not have said. And then the daughter of his old friend Carlos turns up wanting stories of old times. Albi’s day of reckoning may be at hand…
Also by Hilary Shepherd: In a Foreign Country:
“Intelligent, subtle and sensitive… Less was definitely more, and what she chose to omit, as well as what she included,
made it a much greater book…”
Debbie Young (Debbie Young’s Writing Life)
“…a compelling read.”
"I was entranced by this novel, hooked in by the practical details, the voices, colours, weather and smells of a hill village in civil war Spain. Hilary Shepherd uses imagery like a poet… It is with a shock that the reader too returns to the present after this unforgettable read.”
Christine Evans (winner of Roland Matthias Prize for poetry)
"It is, at times, a harrowing tale told in beautiful detail by Hilary Shepherd. Her wonderful writing ensures you will feel as though you knew Albi yourself, and I defy you not to feel emotional as you ride the rollercoaster of his younger years."
Anything But Paella
"...Shepherd has written a book about those who tend to get forgotten..."
Caroline Angus Barker