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A Luminous Republic

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One day, the children begin to show up in the subtropical town of San Crist�bal. Aged between nine and thirteen, the children are covered in dirt and hungry. They beg food, commit small acts of vandalism, play games that don't seem to have any rules, and communicate with each other in a strange language. No one knows where they come from or where they disappear to each night. And then, they rob a supermarket and stab two adults, bringing fear to the town. Thus begins a fearsome and thrilling modern morality tale that retraces the lines between good and evil, the civilised and the wild, and drags our assumptions about childhood and innocence out into the light.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"A Luminous Republic is a terrifying masterpiece. To lay bare with such stunning precision the nature of self-obsession – the viciousness with which any one of us might respond to that which we don’t understand – marks Andrés Barba as a writer of extraordinary talent. He has created a small, simple story and within it buried immense complexity and truth." - Omar El Akkad

"A fever dream of a novel with sharp-as-knives insights; deft and cutting." - Lauren Beukes

"Barba conjures the primal impulses of childhood with terrifying precision. In its questioning of violence as both threat and seduction, A Luminous Republic is both a rapturous fable and a ruinous forecast of the havoc that comes from civic inaction." - Idra Novey

"At first this book will scare you, but after that you feel something much deeper, disturbing and luminous." - Samanta Schweblin

"A Luminous Republic has all the stark power of a folk-tale or a fable. It also raises concerns that are pressing and contemporary—about the function and source of language, about public paranoia and hysteria, about the idea of community and how information spreads. At the book’s center is a moving personal story about memory and loss. The narrative is engaging, at times playful, wholly compelling." - Colm Tóibín

"Disturbing and melancholy, disquieting without tricks and beautiful without artifice, A Luminous Republic is an engrossing tale of unusual moral precision. It could be read as a Lord of the Flies seen from the other side, but then we would be robbing Andrés Barba of the profound originality of his world, which is unlike anything the reader might have encountered. A triumph." - Juan Gabriel Vásquez

"Andrés Barba has written a Spanish novel that seems Latin American and that is nourished by the best Anglo-Saxon tradition: a wicked fable on childhood that is also a suspense novel that plays with the mechanisms of fantastic literature. Highly enjoyable and profound." - Juan Pablo Villalobos

"One of the best books I’ve ever read . . . There is an air of magic, black and white, lingering around every page of this epic novel of 192 pages, like gun smoke after a shootout. I say ‘epic’ because it feels as full, as dense with duration, as if it were 1,000 pages long, but can be read in an evening . . . This is a book at once heavy and light, Caliban and Ariel, somber and comic. It will open your eyes." - Edmund White

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