Portrait of Raquel Martínez-Gómez
Winning Book Image
Sombras de unicornio

Raquel Martinez-Gomez est née en 1973 à La Mancha, dans la province de Albacete. Elle a publié cinq romans : La máscara del rey maya (Le masque du roi maya),  (Los huecos de la memoria (Les trous de mémoire), Ceniza de ombú (Cendres d´ombu), Sombras de unicornio (Ombres de licorne) et Del color de la lava (La couleur de la lave).

Sombras de unicornio lui a valu le Prix de littérature de l’Union européenne en 2010 ainsi que le Young Ateneo de Sevilla en 2007 et a été traduit dans dix langues. Los Huecos de la memoria a permis à l’auteur de remporter le prix du roman historique Antonio García Cuba (INAH, Mexique) en 2018 et Del color de la lava, le prix City of Mostoles en 2002.

En plus d´un recueil de nouvelles, Las grietas del cuerpo, elle a également écrit un nouveau recueil de poèmes.

Raquel Martínez-Gómez possède un doctorat en relations internationales de l’Université Complutense de Madrid et un master en littérature, culture et pensée moderne et contemporaine de l’Université de Sussex (Royaume-Uni).

Elle réside actuellement à Madrid, en montagne, où elle concilie son métier d’écrivain avec son travail spécialisé dans la coopération et le développement. Avant cela, elle a vécu en Uruguay, au Royaume-Uni et au Mexique, et a participé à des programmes universitaires en Argentine et à Cuba et littéraires en Canadá et en France. Depuis 2015, elle tient un blog littéraire Ceniza de ombú.

EUPL Country

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Raquel Martínez-Gómez López
00 34 633 44 57 75

Publishing House

Translation Deals

Translation Deals
  • Albania: Toena
  • Bulgaria: Prozoretz Publishing House
  • Croatia: Naklada Ljevak
  • France: L'atinoir
  • Greece: Vakxikon
  • Hungary: Metropolis Media Group KFT
  • Latvia: Ltd J.L.V
  • North Macedonia: Kniga
  • Serbia: Dereta
  • Slovenia: Ucila



Translated by Peter Bush

A black dune and its hazy outlines remained motionless in the centre of the city, embraced by precarious housing on one side and a residential estate on the other. Edgar often forgot it existed and when he climbed the crag of the Noas to contemplate the horizon, he preferred to imagine there was an empty void. But despite all his efforts to dodge it, the black hump suddenly reappeared when he turned a corner or decided which street to go down. His inner tension would deepen and he’d think about making his escape. For years people had been collecting samples of earth from different places, near to and far from the black dune, to check the levels of lead. That was the consequence of a long struggle waged by a number of local organisations against the municipal council’s silence and the wholesale suborning of individual consciences. But most people didn’t know what was happening and very few thought of moving. Joggers could make out the red-lettered name of the company that owned the industrial site when they tried to keep fit on the oldest residential estates. Then they returned home, shut their windows tight and told the cleaner to scrub the floor again and, after taking a bubble bath, they’d sit in the garden and read the centre pages of El Siglo, proud to perform their social duty by bringing themselves up to speed on the latest betrothals between high falutin’ families. But a few streets further down, much closer to the black dune, the newspapers were never the ones delivered that day and read in any garden; and people couldn’t boast how smart they looked in the photos. In the western districts newspaper pages stood in for doors and windows and the earth, that same earth on which they slept, was crystallising the blood of their children as the paper turned darker and darker. Grey-suited gentlemen wearing plastic gloves, sent by the firm responsible for the black dune, had once knocked on their doors in order to collect lead samples. The area was filled with cleaning machines that sucked up the earth and yellow-suited men who substituted cardboard for newspaper. That, alongside the promise of milk for sick children, was enough to quieten the unrest. The same dust impregnated everything within a fortnight. The youngest children, unaware of the danger they ran, built toys in their imaginations they would never own on that poisoned land. The protests resumed and the consultants for the black dune, that was also the country’s largest metal processing plant, argued they had got there first, that the poor were squatting on municipal land. The name of the company’s owner, who lived a thousand kilometres away, appeared every year in the magazine that published the list of the richest men on the planet. The legend of the black dune kept expanding over the patina of silences.

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