The Adventures of China Iron (Charco Press)

Gabriela Cabezon Camara

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The Adventures of China Iron by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara, translated by Fiona Mackintosh and Iona Macintyre / ISBN 9781916465664 / 188-page paperback with flaps from Charco Press (Edinburgh)

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Shortlisted for the International Booker Prize 2020

"A thrilling and mystical miniature epic." ―The Guardian

1872. The pampas of Argentina. China is a young woman eking out an existence in a remote gaucho encampment. After her no-good husband is conscripted into the army, China bolts for freedom, setting off on a wagon journey through the pampas in the company of her new-found friend Liz, a settler from Scotland. While Liz provides China with a sentimental education and schools her in the nefarious ways of the British Empire, their eyes are opened to the wonders of Argentina’s richly diverse flora and fauna, cultures and languages, as well as to the ruthless violence involved in nation-building.

This subversive retelling of Argentina’s foundational gaucho epic Martín Fierro is a celebration of the colour and movement of the living world, the open road, love and sex, and the dream of lasting freedom. With humour and sophistication, Gabriela Cabezón Cámara has created a joyful, hallucinatory novel that is also an incisive critique of national myths.

Gabriela Cabezón Cámara was born in Buenos Aires in 1968. Her debut novel La virgen cabeza (published in English as Slum Virgin by Charco Press, 2017) was followed by Romance de la negra rubia (Romance of the Black Blonde, 2014) as well as by two collections of short stories. In 2011 she published the novella Le viste la cara a Dios (You’ve Seen God’s Face), later republished as a graphic novel, Beya (Biutiful), illustrated by Iñaki Echeverría. Beya was awarded the Argentine Senate’s Alfredo Palacios Prize and was recognised by the Buenos Aires City Council and the Congress of Buenos Aires Province for its social and cultural significance as well as for its contribution in the fight against human trafficking. During 2013, she was writer-in-residence at UC Berkeley, and in 2019 she was part of the Literarisches Colloquium Berlin.

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