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Two Lines Press

Woodworm by Layla Martinez (Hardcover)

Woodworm by Layla Martinez (Hardcover)

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Fiction - Horror - Ghosts - World Literature - Spain

Translated by: Sophie Hughes and Annie McDermott


The house breathes. The house contains bodies and secrets. The house is visited by ghosts, by angels that line the roof like insects, and by saints that burn the bedsheets with their haloes. It was built by a smalltime hustler as a means of controlling his wife, and even after so many years, their daughter and her granddaughter can’t leave. They may be witches or they may just be angry, but when the mysterious disappearance of a young boy draws unwanted attention, the two isolated women, already subjects of public scorn, combine forces with the spirits that haunt them in pursuit of something that resembles justice. 

In this lush translation by Sophie Hughes and Annie McDermott, Layla Martinez’s eerie debut novel is class-conscious horror that drags generations of monsters into the sun. Described by Mariana Enriquez as “a house of women and shadows, built from poetry and revenge,” this vision of a broken family in our unjust world places power in the hands of the eccentric, the radical, and the desperate.


Layla Martínez (Madrid, 1987) is the author of two nonfiction books in Spanish, Surrogate Pregnancy (Pepitas de calabaza, 2019) and Utopia is not an Island (Episkaia, 2020), as well as stories and articles in numerous anthologies. She has translated essays and novels, writes about music for El Salto, and about television for La Última Hora. Since 2014 she has co-directed the independent publisher Antipersona. Woodworm is her first novel.

Sophie Hughes is a British literary translator who primarily translates from Spanish to English. She has translated more than a dozen books, including the works of José Revueltas and Enrique Vila-Matas for New Directions. She was shortlisted for the 2019 and 2020 International Booker Prize.

Annie McDermott is a translator working from Spanish and Portuguese. Her published and forthcoming translations include Empty Words and The Luminous Novel by Mario Levrero, Dead Girls and Brickmakers by Selva Almada, Feebleminded by Ariana Harwicz (co-translation with Carolina Orloff), and Loop by Brenda Lozano. She also reviews books for the Times Literary Supplement. She has previously lived in Mexico City and São Paulo, Brazil, and now lives by the sea in Hastings, UK.

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