Such Small Hands by Andres Barba

Her father died instantly, her mother in the hospital.

– Opening sentence

I’d seen and heard a lot of good things about Such Small Hands in the book blogging circle, and couldn’t wait to get my hands on the dark and creepy tale.

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with scary stuff. The majority of horror films give me nightmares for weeks, but I’ve never really experienced the same feeling with a book.

Such Small Hands is a short novella, originally written in Spanish but translated by Lisa Dillman. Apparently it is based on a true story, which definitely made the whole book a lot scarier afterwards.

Beautifully written, we follow the story of a young girl called Marina. The sole survivor of an accident that killed both her parents, Marina is sent to a girls orphanage. The story depicts not only her struggle to fit in, but her peers’ struggle to accept her. The author does an excellent job of communicating the children’s thoughts via their actions, reminding the reader of what it’s like to be a child.

From the very beginning the reader is fed a strong sense of uneasiness and tension which builds in intensity as the novella progresses. As I neared the end I found my body was tense, and when I finished it was like I’d been holding my breath.

That being said, I was ever so slightly disappointed. Although dark and chilling, I didn’t find Such Small Hands as scary I had anticipated. It was definitely dark, but not terrifying. I feel like the author definitely could have done more to make it truly the stuff of nightmares (I don’t what that says about me!).

(I also felt like the blurb was slightly misleading, did anyone else feel the same?)

But like I said above, once I found out it was based on a true story that added an extra layer of unease. If you’re a fan of dark and slightly disturbing stories, Such Small Hands will easily be one of your new favourites.

Then, overflowing with gratitude and joy, we sat around her and slowly kissed her lips one by one, as if we were eating.

– Final sentence

4 Stars (4 / 5)

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