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María and her granddaughter Alicia have never met. Decades apart, both make the same journey to Madrid in search of work and independence. María, scraping together a living as a cleaner and carer, sending money back home for the daughter she hardly knows; Alicia, raised in prosperity until a family tragedy, now trapped in a poorly paid job and a cycle of banal infidelities. Their lives are marked by precarity, and by the haunting sense of how things might have been different.
Through a series of arresting vignettes, Elena Medel weaves together a broken family’s story, stretching from the last years of Franco’s dictatorship to mass feminist protests in contemporary Madrid. Audacious, intimate and shot through with razor-edged lyricism, The Wonders is a revelatory novel about the many ways that lives are shaped by class, history and feminism: about what has changed for working class women, and what has remained stubbornly the same.