Only Survival Matters: An Interview with Jesús Carrasco and Margaret Jull Costa

0 0 1 I WORK IN a bookstore — I know how a recommendation sounds. “You’ll love it. It’s so smart/funny/suspenseful/ written. The ending will break your heart.” That’s not how anybody Jesús Carrasco’s runaway hit, Out in the Open . When I first started to hear this book, I felt like I was listening to descriptions of some transcendent experience, maybe talking to a friend who’d just returned from a commune or gotten interested in psychedelics. “You have to experience it. It’ll swallow you up. I had no idea where I was when I finished it. I ’t describe it, but you’ll .” Out in the Open is a novel about a boy who flees abuse in his drought-stricken hometown. He finds himself living on a scorching-hot plain, traveling with a deeply religious goatherd who teaches him survival skills both spiritual. They are hunted, threatened, victimized over over, but they have no way to back. There is no “back”; there’s just danger, drought, God. Contemporary novels rarely engage so plainly with faith suffering. Its characters are observant because to be unobservant, even for a moment, would be fatal. […]

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