A new literary voice from Peru: Claudia Ulloa Donoso
In her latest novel, 'Yo maté a un perro en Rumanía,' a Latin American teacher embarks on a road trip through Romania to get out of her depression
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The Peruvian writer based in Norway Claudia Ulloa Donoso has made her debut in the literary world with the novel Yo maté a un perro en Rumanía, a story starring a Latin American language teacher living in Norway who decides to go on a trip Romania, despite not knowing the language and culture of the country.
The one who encourages her to learn this journey is her Romanian student Mihail, an immigrant in Norway, who is the only one who cares about her mental state. The teacher suffers from severe depression and an addiction to alcohol and tranquilizers. Wanting to avoid the worst, her best friend decides to take her with him to his native Romania on a trip that she finds impossible to postpone. There, between concrete blocks and neon signs, the tenuous bond that united them as migrants in icy Norway fades away. Refuge in alcohol and drugs, surrounded by a language she doesn't know in a country she doesn't understand, the young language teacher will look for a way to take hold of this world.
"Ulloa Donoso has written a book that, between pleasure and fever, takes language to its limits to remind us that only through it are we able to face that definitive threshold that is the end of existence," reads a release from the publishing house, Almadía, a Mexican publisher.
During the book presentation at a recent Mexico book fair (Fil Zócalo), the Peruvian author explained that the anonymous protagonist travels to a country that is completely unknown to her. Upon arriving in Romania, her friend transforms into a "pragmatic and ill-tempered man, who exchanges money and documents with risky individuals."
There, he also meets his family, most of them lost in "nostalgia" for those who emigrated. She travels through towns submerged in darkness or cities that "remember an imperial past that has been lost."
Ulloa was born in Lima in 1979 and studied tourism in her native Peru before studying Spanish at the University of Tromsø. Her publications include the short story collections El pez que aprendió a caminar and Pajarito (available in English in the U.S. as Little Bird) as well as Séptima Madrugada, based on a blog of the same number. In 2017, she was included in the Bogotá39 list, which highlights the most promising young writers in Latin America.
The author lives in Bodø, in northern Norway, where she also teaches Spanish and Norwegian to immigrants.