Book Review

The Curriculum Vitae of Aurora Ortiz by Almudena Solana

The Curriculum Vitae of Aurora Ortiz by Almudena Solana Most job applications do not begin like this: "Yes, I want a job, I would take any job. But if it were possible I'd like to choose: I'd prefer to be the caretaker of a peaceful building." Aurora Ortiz, an Amelie-esque widow living in Madrid, is seeking a job to fill the empty spaces of her life. Approaching application forms like a poetic problem page, she initially finds little success, and of course the novel moves away from the opening job search to explore these empty spaces in Aurora's life. Helping her write the letters is her neighbour Fany, an aspiring writer and checkout girl.

Highly acclaimed in Spain and stylishly translated by David Frye, this warmly written debut moves between Aurora's achingly solitary life in Madrid, and her return to her gorgeously evoked hometown in Galicia. There, the images are so sensual that you can almost taste puddings and feel the comfort of soapsuds and sunshine. As Aurora's voice winningly reveals the daily details and major turns of her life, the feeling of an individual struggling against the system is overwhelming. Despite the heroine's isolation, the tone is warm and inquisitive throughout. Grief and disappointment gather an unusual solidity and hopefulness around themselves as Aurora moves to restore some happiness. Free from pulp psychology, the setting is both modern and traditional - crisp folded napkins and full moons co-exist with laptops and motorbikes.

Solana creates tendrils of narrative - from the father Aurora's never met but who also lives in Madrid, to the young priest who moves to Galicia and talks with her for hours - but it's the heroine's winning voice on which this book rests. At first the suggestions of storyline which are never followed through might seem frustrating, but the images unwrap themselves so warmly that they create an intricate and engaging painting, full of possibilities.

Jodie Hamilton
-- Reviewed by Mark Thwaite on 02/08/2005

Further Information
ISBN-10: 1843430967
ISBN-13: 9781843430964
Publisher: The Harvill Press
Publication Date: 10/02/2005
Binding: Paperback
Number of pages: 192

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