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After the Winter

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  847 ratings  ·  109 reviews

A shy young Mexican woman moves to Paris to study literature. Cecilia has few friends, and a morbid fascination with watching the funerals taking place in Père-Lachaise cemetery outside her apartment. She suddenly strikes up a close relationship with her neighbour, a sickly young man who shares her interest in death and believes we can communicate with the dead. After comi

Published March 2018 by MacLehose Press (first published 2014)
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Average rating 3.67  · 
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 ·  847 ratings  ·  109 reviews

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Isobel Blackthorn
Set in Manhattan and in Ménilmontant, the 20tharrondissement of Paris, After The Winter is an introspective story of obsession and depression and love.

Claudio, an editor in a relationship with a woman fifteen years his senior, hails from Cuba, where disturbing events of his past have shaped his personality, causing him to seek absolute control over his environment. A lover of silence and solitude, Claudio is conflicted, at odds with himself and filled with self-justifications. His is
Something about this did not quite gel for me. The prose was clean and elegant, and the structure – two parallel stories that briefly intersect – was compelling. The two main characters each suffer trauma as children, and both opt out of life in different ways, seeming alienated and unknowable even to themselves. However the characters were so polarized, with one almost a caricature, that they distracted from the book’s meditative, compassionate core.
Apr 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another off the BTBA longlist. The author has created a dual narrative with male and female narrators which mostly recounts their relationships with others. I liked the book but had expected more link between the two narrators.
Jun 30, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Completely insubstantial. Two protagonists telling us their story in a boring monologue without giving us any time to care about them. At least it was a quick read.
Andy Weston
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in Manhattan and Paris, and concerning two characters whose lives coincidentally intersect, Nettel’s story gradually tightens it’s grip on the reader, by midway I was totally absorbed in it, despite it being extremely sad at times.
Claudio, in a relationship with a woman 15 years older, is from Cuba, and a lover of silence and solitude. He is conflicted, moody, at odds with the world, and not a sympathetic character.
Cynthia has a fascination for the dead and cemeteries. She is from Mex
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Alternating focus between a male and female protagonist, After the Winter is a story of the human conditions of obsession, love and loneliness. The Cuban man lives alone in New York City with his OCD and gets together once a week with an older girlfriend. The Mexican post grad lives in Paris and loves her apartment’s view of the cemetery as she falls for an ill Italian neighbor. Both the man’s and woman’s stories are compelling, forcing the reader to question if and how they will intersect.

Graham Oliver
I really liked the conversational voices of the narrators, but found the narrators (as well as, though to a lesser extent, their situations) themselves to be insipid and verging on cliche/caricatures.
Charlie Quimby
I read the US edition published by Coffee House Press.

It’s a slowly building, oddly engrossing novel that follows two not very sympathetic characters who don’t do much of anything. Yet each time I put it down, it was never to put it away. The ending was quietly affecting.
Emma Saks
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written, eerie, thoughtful.
Nov 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I guessed -- and I do not believe I was wrong -- that she was a woman without energy.

...wrapped in that protective aura rich women have, which over time I have grown accustomed to.

I saw him get home from school at the same time that I did and, at night, turn off the light in his room so many times that in the end I stopped thinking about him and my hatred, just as you do not think of your liver, even though it is there, working away, until one day it bursts open, letting you savor t
Jan 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After the Winter is very well written (and translated), and tells a moving story of love and loss, while at the same time telling a second story about love and loss that frustrated me. The novel alternates between Cecilia, a sweet and lonely figure who I was captivated by, and Claudio, a creepy man who I did not enjoy my time with. (view spoiler) ...more
Apr 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel was slow through the vast majority of the book but the pace picked up too quickly in the final 20 pages or so. This is a love story but not in a clear-cut romantic way. This was the real-life love with tragedies and disappointments and loss and unexpected turns. I was drawn to the international nature (a Cuban living in NYC and a Mexican living in Paris) and the locations did have a meaningful role in the characters’ backgrounds and decisions. The two protagonists sought to control th ...more
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to Will at our local independent bookstore, Avid Bookshop, I discovered the recent English translation of this novel by the highly regarded author Mexican author Guadalupe Nettel. Through alternating chapters the stories of a Cuban man living in New York and a Mexican woman in Paris unfold and intertwine. Fascinating study of love...and depression.

By the way, among the many recognitions of her work, in 2013 Guadalupe Nettel was included on the list of Best Untranslated Writers
This book reminded me that we read sometimes simply for the pleasure of the words. The descriptions of people, places, and feelings in these pages are so electric that I found myself stopping to highlight key phrases on nearly every page. I was enthralled as much by the author's word choices as the novel's two main characters, who were decidedly unique, but also so recognizably flawed that it was easy to relate to them.

A gripping meditation on love, loss, solitude, grief, and redempt
Julian Figueroa
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A gothic and existential tour of Paris and New York told through Claudio and Cecilia’s search for love and connection. A connection that is ultimately elusive and ephemeral but worth the effort to try. What struck me about this book was the way the emotional weight of the story was woven into the atmosphere of the physical world via the neighborhoods around the main characters. I couldn’t help but be drawn into it.
Nov 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I vacillated between three and four stars, but ultimately the lucid, insightful prose fell prey - just a bit - to sentimentality. Also, I hate to rate a novel based off translation, so this could easily be an unfair estimate of Nettel's vision. But in the end, I didn't feel struck by the feeling that built throughout the novel. Which isn't to take away from the journey, but an end does begin at some point, and the last batch of pages felt more like an afterthought than a story.
Wanda Brenni
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a simple and easy to read novel that as you finish the last page it's meaning and depth can sweep you up to a better understanding of our humanity and our plight as humans--each with those events that mark and make us.
Mar 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I read the English version of her book. It was interesting about to Latino people living in two different places in the world away from their home towns.
Secret List of Books
Mystified by why this book was so lauded. It was fine, kind of depressing. The writing was skillful but the story wasn’t special. Reading dates are general. I read it this summer 2019
Sarah Swedberg
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(I read a translated version since my Spanish is very rudimentary.)
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Superb. Rich. Detailed. Crisp. Sharp. Pointed. Fantastic.
Suzy Lolo
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Two beautiful stories that interweave and separate. Time stops when you’re reading this book. Incredible. Unbelievably enjoyable
Dec 31, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting characters but the story structure was really lacking in coherency at points
kim robichaud
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sad, but beautiful. This novel invites you to reconsider what it means to be a good person, to be happy, and to be in love.
Royce Houthuijzen
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book fucked with me.
Mar 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read in English translation by Rosalind Harvey
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So very gorgeous, and such a fascinating character study. The kind of book that would be better without an end, but with a prolonged pause.
Rebecca H.
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the characterization in this book -- Cecilia is fascinating and Claudio is horrible and it's hard to be in his mind sometimes, but Nettel does a wonderful job capturing them both. The settings were great as well, very immersive, especially Paris. This is a grim book with a lot of dark moments, but I really enjoyed it.
Manuel C.
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After the Winter reprises several of Nettel’s themes from her previous books (inadequacy, physical disability, supernatural feelings and desires) but does so through an interesting plot: a love story between people that one cannot help but despise, or at most, tolerate. The novel is structured through the first-person accounts of Claudio and Cecilia, both Latin American expats. Claudio is a Cuban man in his forties who works at a publishing house. He is also a reactionary and decadent aesthete o ...more
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Guadalupe Nettel (born 1973) is a Mexican writer. She was born in Mexico City and obtained a PhD in linguistics from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. She has published in several genres, both fiction and non-fiction.

Nettel is a prolific author and a regular contributor to both Spanish- and French-language magazines, including Letras Libres, Hoja por hoja, L'at
“Prefería mantenerme el mayor tiempo posible en esa zona de incertidumbre en la que caben todas las posibilidades, a obtener una respuesta rotunda y negativa.” 6 likes
“«¿De qué estrellas caímos para encontrarnos aquí?»” 3 likes
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