Gemma Ruiz-Palà

Translated by Peter Bush

Héloïse Press

Trade Paperback


ISBN: 9781739751555


Publication date: 8 August 2023

Rights: Translation



Originally from China, Wenling arrived in Barcelona looking for a better life. With no knowledge of the local languages, she managed to open a salon. Our unnamed narrator is one of Wenling’s frequent customers, a documentary producer that takes carefully note of everything and everyone around her. As time passes by, a friendship grows between the two women. Through their conversations, Wenling’s story unfolds at the salon, where we also discover the hidden lives of the many customers that frequent the place. Rachel Doyle and Tippi Hedren, and their contribution to the beauty industry have also a place in this book, as well as the bunch of hard-working women that made the beauty industry flourish. And just like that, Wenling’s nail salon becomes the crossroad for a myriad of women’s stories and female complicity.

Gemma Ruiz-Palà

Gemma Ruiz Palà (Sabadell, 1975) is a Catalan journalist and writer. Her first novel, Argelagues (2016), was a great success in Spain. Wenling’s is her second novel, for which she spent years visiting nail salons incognito to capture their conversations, atmosphere and vibes. Her third novel, Our Mothers (2023), won the Sant Jordi Prize in 2022. This was the first time in nineteen years that a woman had received the prize.

Translated by Peter Bush, who has translated a number of Catalan modern classics, including Black Bread by Emili Teixidor, Mercè Rodoreda’s In Diamond Square, Joan Sales’ Uncertain Glory and Winds of the Night, Josep Plà’s Life Embitters and The Gray Notebook, which won the 2014 Ramon Llull Prize for Literary Translation. In 2015 he was awarded the Creu de Sant Jordi by the Catalan government for his translation and promotion of Catalan literature.

 Author portrait © Miquel Taverba