The Devil of the Provinces

Longlist, National Book Awards 2023 for Translated Literature

Book cover for The Devil of the Provinces
ISBN 9781566896771
Coffee House Press
author photo of Juan Cárdenas (Photo credit: Federico Ríos)
Juan Cárdenas

Juan Cárdenas is a Colombian art critic, curator, translator, and author of seven works of fiction, most recently the story collection Volver a comer del árbol de la ciencia and the novel Elástico de sombra. More about this author >

Author photo of Lizzie Davis. (No photo credit available)
Lizzie Davis

Lizzie Davis is a translator, a writer, and an editor at Coffee House Press. Her recent projects include Juan Cárdenas’s Ornamental, a finalist for the 2021 PEN Translation Prize; Elena Medel’s The Wonders, co-translated with Thomas Bunstead; and work by Valeria Luiselli, Pilar Fraile Amador, and Aura García-Junco. More about this author >

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Translated from the Spanish

From the publisher:

After a series of failures, a biologist returns to his hometown to live with his grieving mother. But in this gripping crime novel that upends the genre’s conventions, strange events unravel what he thought he knew of his past, his present, and himself.

When a biologist returns to Colombia after 15 years abroad, he quickly becomes entangled in the trappings of his past and his increasingly bizarre present: the unsolved murder of his brother, a boarding school where girls give birth to strange creatures, a chance encounter with his irrevocably changed first love. A brush with a well-connected acquaintance leads to a biotechnology job offer, and he’s gradually drawn into a web of conspiracy. Ultimately, he may be destined to remain in the city he’d hoped never to see again—in The Devil of the Provinces, nothing is as it seems.