- Author: David Monteagudo
- Reader: Madeline Peña
- Date: 03/01/2012
Brañaganda was entertaining, captivating, and intriguing reading. The author combines suspense, magical realism and a rich prose to transport the audience to a place and time that feels both real and surreal. He ornately uses the language to describe places, situations and characters through the voice of the narrator—an inquisitive adolescent named Orlando.
The novel encompasses several stories within the main story—all connected by the same setting and characters—which in most cases include their own mini climax and help build the suspense of this work. The author does a great job at keeping the reader engaged and at creating situations that make readers reflect on possible ways the plot will unfold.
The events take place in post Spanish Civil War Brañaganda—a small, rural and poor town in Galicia, Spain—where a mythical figure, the lobishone or werewolf, starts taking the lives of women during full-moon nights. The town is in great distress and both believers and skeptics (the only skeptics in town are Orlando’s parents) try to find a solution to a problem that only gets worse. The reader won’t learn until the end if the lobishone is real or not, or if the lobishone is someone we know. The climax is somehow unexpected and satisfying, but still leaves some unanswered questions.
The subjects of this story—family relations, shameful secrets, mysticism, and rural life—are undoubtedly appealing to readers. The main topic of werewolves has been widely popular in the U.S. and worldwide, historically and in recent times. It is worth mentioning the hugely successful series featuring vampires and werewolves Twilight Saga by Stephanie Mayer, and Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris.
Although werewolves are classic subjects in fiction narrative, the author treats it in a different way: Brañaganda is more a tale of real-life people surrounded by supernatural circumstances, than a story of fantastic characters trying to fit in real life. However, some of the aspects that make Brañaganda special—the extremely poor and rural setting, the backdrop of local history and customs, and the lack of a strong love story—might discourage U.S. readers.
Previous works of David Monteagudo have not been translated to English language, and are not widely available in public libraries in the U.S.