Las fieras

Las fieras / The Beasts

Novel , 2024

Seix Barral

Pages: 376

A terrorist with delusions of grandeur. A teenager searching for her place in the world. An astounding generational portrait of the Spain of the 1980s, marked by political violence and dreams of freedom.

Rather than the number of victims Idoia López Riaño murdered in cold blood it was her icy beauty that attracted the attention of the media. Nicknamed the Tigress, she was not only an ETA terrorist but also a celebrity. Her story and her life are reconstructed in this extraordinary novel alongside that of Miren, a teenager who strives to be accepted despite the stigma of her father being a police officer, socially an enemy of the Basque people.

These are the 80s in the Basque Country, the years of lead and the dirty war between ETA terrorism and state terrorism. Everywhere Miren looks – at her friends, the boy she likes, her own father – everyone is divided, taking positions on one side or the other, like wild beasts in a fight to the death.

Beginning with the story of a daughter and a father doomed to never understand each other, Clara Usón masterfully reconstructs the life of Idoia López Riaño, inside and outside the terrorist group, and also the criminal repression plotted by the state. Both sides were responsible for the deaths of countless innocent victims and were the protagonists of one of the darkest pages in recent Spanish history.

“Clara Usón skillfully and subtly intertwines the two plots, merging them into a magnificent ending, where she displays her great narrative intelligence. […] Notable is the sensitivity and sharpness with which Usón constructs the character of Miren, a teenager trapped in the difficulties typical of her age. […] Clara Usón recreates, with the insight resulting from exhaustive research and enviable narrative skill, that turbulent Basque Country where political violence permeated everyday relationships. Nothing to reproach in this impeccable narrative architecture that supports the entire weight of the novel and, moreover, achieves the one thing we must demand from fiction: to expand our imagination and, with it, our understanding and knowledge.”—Babelia, El País

“A space where uncertainty and human complexity are deeply explored.”—La Razón

“Clara Usón delivers one of the best novels of the year [...], an extraordinary novel filled with diverse voices where the terrorist is the central axis.”—El Confidencial

“A writer who could pass for Basque without being one.”—El Mundo

“A story full of contrasts that delve into the filth of terrorism and the not-so-distant history of our country with the intention of questioning, of understanding. [...] A narrative that explores the 'lumpen' environment and the radicalism of both sides, highlighting the rampant sexism of the era. A setting where the puritanical and the despicable surprisingly go hand in hand.”—La Razón

“Clara Usón detests dogmas. The Barcelona writer combats them with her fictions. In her latest novel, she investigates the effect of that blind conviction on an entire generation. [...] A fiction with a very real undertone that keeps the reader on edge until the last page.”—El Diario Vasco

“Clara Usón is obsessed with evil, how it manifests, its faces, its frivolity. [...] She aims to unravel the reasons behind the strength of dogmas, how they drag us to ever darker places in the name, in this case, of a homeland.”—El Independiente 

The Beasts revolves around this division of the two Spains, through a gallery of characters that provide a very vivid portrayal of an era. [...] One of the positive aspects to highlight in the book is how we hear the voices of both sides without any intervention from the author.”—La Vanguardia

“A brave work in which imagination challenges and completes reality.”—El Cultural

“A thorny subject handled with great skill and tact by Usón.”—Culturas