My grateful thanks to Alice at Fum D’Estampa Press for sending me a surprise copy of Bel Olid’s Wilder Winds translated by Laura McGloughlin in return for an honest review. I’m delighted to share that review today.
Published by Fum D’Estampa Press on 15th January 2022 Wilder Winds is available for purchase here.
In Wilder Winds, writer and translator Bel Olid presents a stunning collection of short stories that draw on notions of individual freedom, abuses of power, ingrained social violence, life on the outskirts of society, and inevitable differences. Alongside these they place small acts of kindness capable of changing the world and making it a better place. Like a flower that stubbornly grows and blooms in the cracks of the pavement. Olid’s work seeks out beauty without renouncing truth, and never avoids conflict or intimacy.
Wilder Winds creates scenes and fragile, yet hardy characters that will stay with the reader for years to come.
My Review of Wilder Winds
A slim volume of short stories.
Wilder Winds is a wonderful collection, flawlessly translated by Laura McGloughlin.
It is an exquisite, almost physically painful read with an iterative image of water, redolent of birth, baptism and cleansing woven into many of the stories so that they almost seem to wash away the reader’s delusions and self-deceptions, giving them an insight into the live of those on the edges of society so sensitively portrayed by Bel Olid.
The author brings to the forefront of the reader’s consciousness those aspects of life they often only half acknowledge – brutality, homelessness, refugees for example – and makes them real and vivid. What Bel Olid does in Wilder Winds is to hold up a mirror to society in exactly the way Baba Luba does, making that character a metaphor for the entire collection. Alongside the challenging aspects of life, such as racism and prejudice, the stories are balanced by tenderness, burgeoning sexuality and a wistful longing so that they draw in the reader completely.
Whilst some of these stories are only a few paragraphs long, Bel Olid imbues them with emotion and true to life, fully rounded characters that the reader cares about making Wilder Winds as important a book as it is an engaging and entertaining one.
Intense and intelligent, interesting and affecting, Wilder Winds resonates with the reader in countless ways. It’s difficult to convey how impressive the writing actually is, but I thoroughly recommend this humane and humanising collection.
About Bel Olid
Bel Olid is a writer and translator living and working in Catalonia. They are president of the Catalan Writers’ Association and in 2017 stood for the Catalan parliament as a representative of the CUP party.
You’ll find Bel on Twitter @BelOlid and Instagram.
About Laura McGloughlin
Laura McGloughlin is an Irish translator living and working in London. Having translated many works by both Catalan and Spanish writers, in 2012 she appeared as a panellist for New Spanish Books.
You’ll find Laura on Twitter @drownedbook and Instagram.