Jamie is Editor of The Cardiff Review
Such Small Hands
Barba said in an interview once that this novel was inspired by a line he had read long before in a story by Clarice Lispector. The line was from her 1960 short story, "The Smallest Woman in the World" and read: "Having no dolls to play with, and maternity already pulsating terribly in the hearts of those orphans, the sly little girls had concealed another girl’s death from the nun. They hid the corpse in a wardrobe until the nun left, and played with the dead girl, giving her baths and little snacks, punishing her just so they could kiss her afterward, consoling her." Such Small Hands is horrifying and moving and perhaps the truest account of what I imagine it is to be an orphan.