The Wind That Lays Waste, Selva Almada & Txakoli, Rezabal
The Wind That Lays Waste, by Selva Almada & Takoli, by Rezabal
by Kim Kent
3 years ago
When I first read Selva Almada’s The Wind That Lays Waste, it was January—an entirely different season that feels impossibly far from where we are now. When I read it again last week, the novel had changed; I had changed. Very quickly my perceptions—the set of circumstances I bring to my interactions with art—had changed. What I notice now in Almada’s novel is the feeling of suspension. Of being suspended in a moment of waiting. Almada’s novel is generally linear: a thing happens, the book progresses even as it’s impacted by the past, and we (the reader) know, though we aren’t certain of the specifics until we arrive there, that something must happen after. It’s not the getting there that makes this novel powerful, but the attention Almada pays to the shift itself. She forces us to linger in her landscape of between—to sit in the wreck.
What I know about the struggle of good and evil has all been learned through literature or song lyrics. It’s probably because of this I think her novel isn’t really about this particular struggle, but about our struggle to perceive the unknown. For me it’s an uncomfortable feeling and also a luxurious one. Like a slow-breaking storm; a movie filmed in long panoramic shots of glittering light; an uninterrupted view of the “leaden sky.” Right now, I’m not sure if we’re living in the calm before the storm, or in the calm just after the storm, but everything is undeniably different. We’ve shifted and don’t yet know how things will change forever. We’re waiting. It’s a hot and thirsty sort of feeling. A feeling akin to hunger: the hunger of dirt desperate for rain.
This Txakoli from Rezabal is “pale as a mountain river,” with a slight effervescence like little bolts of electricity on your tongue. Full of citrus and apple, it’s a wine for the thirsty, the hot, the tired. It’s an inviting sort of wine. Made in the Basque country from 100% Hondarrabi-Zuri and grown on sandy, sloping land near the sea, it’s the wine I want to drink while waiting—whatever comes next.
Selva Almada is an award-winning Argentine writer, considered an influential feminist voice in Latin American literature. The Wind That Lays Waste is her first work to appear in English, but I’m already eager for more. She was born in 1974 and has published two novels, a collection of short stories, a book of nonfiction, among other works. Her works, like this one, seem to be deeply rooted in a sense of environment with the spare but electric language that reminds me a bit of Carson McCullers.
Rezabal is a third generation family-run winergy in the Basque country, specifically the region of Zarautz, growing Hondarrabi-Zuri (the white Txakoli varietal) and Hondarrabi-Beltza (the red varietal for their very tasty Txakoli rosé). Everything is hand harvested, fermented in stainless steel tanks, and deliciously refreshing.