Graphic, gothic and often gruesome – this has the timeless feel of a folk tale. A rural village in Galicia is the setting for the return from exile of two sisters after the Spanish civil war. Superstition and intrigue hint at a violent and sinister past among the local cast of eccentrics and grotesques, adding to the air of unease and foreboding. Though reminiscent of a Brothers Grimm story, this surreal tragicomedy is one for adults only.
People said that if the Popular Front won, the rich folks would have to share their wealth. The poor folk liked the sound of this. But once the war started, there was no sharing out of anything; instead, hunger and fear became routine.
In people’s homes, anything that could be added to the bread dough that wasn’t poisonous was added: straw, wood chips, toads, and stones .... Folks lost a lot of teeth trying to chew on it. The Winterlings remembered that sensation, too; they’d forgotten many people’s faces, but they remembered the bitter taste of the bread ....
While they shucked corn, and mended or made sweaters, rumours of a very different kind began to swirl. All of this went on, and then, after a while, they arrested Mr. Tenderlove, the dental mechanic. He was released after a twelve thousand real fine for pulling the teeth of dead people he found lying in ditches. That’s what people were saying, although no one could believe it.