Day 22: 🇨🇴 Holiday Heart

I read this in an evening and a half. What a treat.
Robayo’s prose is cutting, sardonic, precise and witty, brilliantly translated by Charlotte Coombe.

In a Nutshell:

Lucía and Pablo are a married couple, originally from Colombia they now live in the USA with their twins, Rosa and Tomás. We meet the family just as Pablo is suffering from Holiday Heart Syndrome and Lucia takes the children off to the family’s apartment in Miami, to coincide with the unravelling of the couple’s marriage.


Gender, motherhood, identity, racism, the end of love and dis-belonging are all at the heart of this wonderful novel. One of my favourites now.


“Because you sound like one of those women who see motherhood as the primary, hypertrophic drive of female existence.”

“After she gave birth, Lucía expelled all of that false kindness along with the placenta.”

“Because anything to do with the idea of a homeland, or patriotism, is corny to you. Obviously.”

An Observation:

Holiday Heart Syndrome, also known as atrial fibrillation, coined in 1978,  is defined as “abnormal heart rhythms sometimes following excessive alcohol consumption; usually temporary”. Holiday Heart Syndrome can be the result of stress, dehydration, and drinking alcohol. It is sometimes associated with overindulging/binge drinking common during national holidays.

Stockists: Want to read Holiday Heart? Buy it here.

Holiday Heart

Written by Margarita García Robayo

Translated from the Spanish by Charlotte Coombe

25/06/2020, Charco Press

ISBN: 9781999368449

#WITMonth for 2021 is curated by Jess Andoh-Thayre

I am 35, from London but currently living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I have lived in Tanzania, Chile, Spain and now Cambodia. I am married to a diplomat and we have been posted in Dar es Salaam 🇹🇿 and now Phnom Penh 🇰🇭 . Prior to married life, I had also lived in La Serena, Chile and Madrid, Spain.

I am a French, Spanish and English teacher, translator, avid reader and now blogger. When I am not teaching, reading and blogging, I love seeing a brilliant sunset, swimming and hanging out with my husband and son.

Please follow me @jessandohthayre on Twitter and follow my book journey here.

Author: Margarita García Robayo

Margarita García Robayo was born in 1980 in Cartagena, Colombia, and now lives in Buenos Aires. She is the author of three novels, a book of autobiographical essays and several collections of short stories, including Worse Things, which won the prestigious Casa de las Américas Prize in 2014. Holiday Heart is her second book to appear in English after the very successful Fish Soup.

Translator: Charlotte Coombe

Charlotte Coombe is a British literary translator, working from French and Spanish. For Charco Press, she has translated three titles: Ricardo Romero’s The President’s Room (2017), Margarita García Robayo’s Fish Soup (2018) and Holiday Heart (2020).

One thought on “Day 22: 🇨🇴 Holiday Heart

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s