About the Book
El Hacho is a timeless evocation of inheritance, duty and our relationship to the landscape that defines us.
Set in the stark beauty of the Andalusian mountains El Hacho tells the story of Curro, an olive farmer determined to honour his family tradition in the face of drought, deluge and the lucrative temptations of a rapidly modernising Spain.
Format: ebook, paperback (82 pages) Publisher: Epoque Press Publication date: 15th February 2018 Genre: Literary fiction
Find El Hacho on Goodreads
I fell in love with olive farmer, Curro, and his wife (his equal in industry and enterprise) and their wonderful mutually supportive relationship. “She met him on the terrace and fussed over his aches and took his satchel and rough palms in hers and worked her thumbs into the knots and kissed the split and broken nails…” Find someone who cares about you in the way they do about each other and you’ll be a happy person. “When he entered the house his wife was wearing the worry of her love.“
Their simple life is depicted with such clarity I felt I could smell the coffee brewing, the almonds roasting and the bread baking. And how’s this for making your mouth water? “[He] soaked a crust of moist warm bread with oil and split a ripe tomato upon it with a grind of pepper and a pinch from the salt bowl.”
The El Hacho of the title refers to the mountain that overlooks the village. To Curro, though, it’s more than just a topographical feature but something to be respected and preserved. “To tear down that mountain would be to rip the heart from this village… El Hacho is our version of the name they give to a mountain that watches over the people that live in its shadow, that protects them from those that would turn them out… We don’t own it, we are just its guardians, and for a very short time.”
Curro watches in despair as the long drought threatens his livelihood and that of surrounding farms. “Never in my born days can I remember it so intense so late, he said despairingly. It’s like God himself has abandoned this valley to the devil and refuses to turn the wheel to winter.” In an example of one of the wonderful descriptions of landscape and weather in the book, Curro sees the land around him “heave a singular, terrible, beseeching lament for rain.”
There’s a saying that ‘it never rains but it pours’ and when the drought does end it does so in the most dramatic way. “He saw the horizon beyond the eastern valley invaded by great shapeless towers of purple-black thunder heads streaked upon their hulls with sulphuric yellow light. They heaved across the sky in frothing anger and the groaning of the thunder began to clap in pearls of shocking weight.” Once more Curro must singlehandedly battle the forces of the natural world arrayed against him.
El Hacho is a simply but beautifully told story of overcoming obstacles and of never giving up. You can read an extract from the book and make up your own mind here.
I received a review copy courtesy of Epoque Press.
In three words: Gentle, uplifting, authentic
Try something similar: Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon
About the Author
Luis Carrasco lives and writes in Gloucestershire. He was inspired to write El Hacho after falling in love with the people and natural beauty of the Sierra de Grazalema whilst living in Andalucia. He is currently working on his second novel.
Connect with Luis