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A Little Luck by Claudia Piñeiro review: Moments of hope in the dark

Argentine novelist Claudia Piñeiro's 2015 novel is her latest to be translated into English and follows a woman returning to Buenos Aires after 20 years away

A Little Luck by Claudia Piñeiro book cover

Claudia Piñeiro shocked readers last year with the newly translated edition of Elena Knows. The work posits itself as a simple mystery novel, as an ageing mother seeks to uncover the truth of her daughter’s death. But what is revealed is the mother’s daily struggle with increasingly debilitating cerebral palsy.  A Little Luck, the next of Piñeiro’s novels to be translated by Frances Riddle, is equal to its predecessor in its exploration of tragedy. Mary Lohan is returning to Argentina for the first time in 20 years – but what made her flee? 

While Elena Knows was often suffocating, with pain thriving on every page, A Little Luck offers more moments to breathe. Living in the cracks of Mary’s solitude, a loneliness she inflicts on herself as punishment, is tenderness. She is far from the monster others perceive her to be. Among the shards of two lives a love story blossoms, one of two damaged people forgiving each other for their pasts. Piñeiro is quickly establishing herself to English readers as a novelist capable of utter devastation, but she consistently offers a little hope in the dark. 

Billie Walker is a freelance journalist 

A Little Luck by Claudia Piñeiro book cover

A Little Luck by Claudia Piñeiro, translated by Frances Riddle, is out on 11 July (Charco, £11.99). You can buy it from The Big Issue shop on Bookshop.org, which helps to support The Big Issue and independent bookshops.

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