Skip to Main Content (Press Enter)


Best Seller
Ordesa by Manuel Vilas
Paperback $17.00
Nov 30, 2021 | ISBN 9780593084052

Buy from Other Retailers:

See All Formats (2) +
  • Nov 30, 2021 | ISBN 9780593084052

    Buy from Other Retailers:

  • Dec 01, 2020 | ISBN 9780593084069

    Buy from Other Retailers:

Buy the Audiobook Download:

Listen to a sample from Ordesa

Product Details


Praise for Ordesa

“Manuel Vilas writes both novels and poetry, and this book falls somewhere in between. It’s a meditation on yearning, solitude, and self; a soul storm, a mirage of phantom figures—resurrected images of dead ancestors, childhood memories, the changing face of Spain itself. And all of these visions come in waves to Manuel after his parents’ deaths, as he struggles to make sense of his own midlife sorrow and emptiness. It’s a book of deep reckoning—of the meaningful and mundane—but written with an airy, even whimsical touch. . . . Despite the melancholy at its heart, this is ultimately a book of light.” The New York Times Book Review

“It’s beyond impressive that Vilas can pack so much emotional resonance into [these] pages without resorting to anything manipulative. And when it comes to limning the everyday sadnesses of the world, Vilas is a master.” NPR

“[A] sober yet elegant autobiographical novel…Painfully observant and poetically inclined…” The New Yorker 

“Sometimes there arises a snapshot so striking and definitive it resembles the universal. Manuel Vilas’ Ordesa is one such novel…With the cadence of poetry, Ordesa unearths a fraught but tender reality in which each moment we’ve inhabited with those we love is synonymous with the present moment—inextricable from everything that comes after.” ZYZZYVA

“Poignant and sensitive portrait of a wounded man . . . A journey both nostalgic and melancholic.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“Vilas is a Spanish poet, novelist, and essayist born in 1962 who has enjoyed critical and commercial success in his homeland with this book. . . . Vilas also conveys—and Rosenberg smoothly translates—many moments of pain and happiness any reader might recognize as the narrator plunges into the maelstrom of closely examined memory. A dark and challenging but emotionally rich work.” Kirkus Reviews
“Vibrant English-language debut . . . Despite lacking a central arc, the novel hums with magnetic and lively scenes. This is an indelible portrait of a man facing the costs of a life dedicated to remembrance.” Publishers Weekly

Ordesa is a poet’s novel, or maybe a novelist’s prose poem. It’s both things at once, and also the saddest and most candid autobiography I’ve read in recent times. I’ve been through this book twice and I still don’t know how Vilas does it. I know, however, that this book is a gift, and maybe that’s enough.”  —Juan Gabriel Vásquez, author of The Shape of the Ruins

“[Ordesa] is the album, the archive, the memory without lies or consolation. . . . What’s left in the end is the clean emotion of truth and the distress of everything lost.”  —Antonio Muñoz Molina, author of Like a Fading Shadow

“A book full of compassion towards the underdogs of history, the everyday men. An extraordinary book.”  —El País (Spain)

Looking for More Great Reads?
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
Get the latest updates about Manuel Vilas
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
By clicking “SIGN UP”, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to Penguin Random House’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use and understand that Penguin Random House collects certain categories of personal information for the purposes listed in that policy, discloses, sells, or shares certain personal information and retains personal information in accordance with the policy. You can opt-out of the sale or sharing of personal information anytime.
Something awesome is on its way.
Back to Top