Todo arde

Alfaguara, 2020 | Everything Burns


Todo arde is an original and disturbing retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth in which the love that motivates the journey into hell is between siblings, rather than lovers.

Lena has been out of touch for weeks until her little brother Lolo tracks her down one Friday evening in August, just as the sun is setting. Determined to convince her to return home with him,  Lolo accompanies Lena to the shanty town where she buys drugs. So begins the journey they will make together over the course of that long night in the slums, an odyssey marked by trials and dangers.

Lolo and Lena become separated in the labyrinth of shacks. They continue their descent into hell alone, encountering on the way a number of the individuals who live there; Esma, Noe, Mikis, The Louse, and a blind drunkard who is able to see in the gloom like a gypsy Tiresias. Only the fires burning outside some of the huts light up the darkness. On this journey, peril lurks in every shadow and among the people who roam like restless spirits, crushed by greed, desire and deception.

The discovery of a valuable Pit Bull puppy puts Lolo and Lena at the centre of a viscious struggle between two gangs fighting for control of the town. No one comes out of hell unscathed. The love between the brother and sister, the rare bond that can survive against all the odds, is their only chance of saving each other before the new day dawns.

Todo arde is the tale of a quest, a teenager’s journey into the unknown to rescue his older sister from her addiction to crack and heroin. This is the story of two lost souls who need one other, a story of light and darkness. It is only at the very end that the reader finds out who saves who.


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