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Virginia Feito. Foto: EFE/Editorial Lumen
Virginia Feito. Photo: EFE/Editorial Lumen

Virginia Feito: the Spanish writer who writes in English and triumphs

Her debut novel, Mrs. March, a thriller set in New York high society, was recently published in Spanish

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She has been called 'the Spanish Patricia Highsmith.'

Virginia Feito, born in Madrid in 1988, has managed to break into the U.S. literary market thanks to her debut novel, Mrs. March, a psychological horror novel set in New York originally written in English. After being praised by U.S. critics, the novel was just published in Spanish (La señora March, Lumen). 

   

The novel tells the story of Mrs. March, the wife of a successful writer who enjoys the good life in the sophisticated neighborhood of the Upper East Side until a salesgirl in a bakery asks her if her husband has been inspired by her to create the protagonist of his latest novel — a prostitute — which awakens anguish and paranoid thoughts. 

According to EFE, Feito, who is the daughter of a former Spanish diplomat and has lived in Paris, London, New York and Madrid, decided to write her first novel in English because it is the language she finds "easier," after growing up influenced by the North American culture her parents brought home after their long stays in the United States. 

"All the culture and vocabulary I absorbed in books and movies was in English," she told EFE.

The novel has been praised by critics in the United States, who have compared her to writers such as Patricia Highsmith and Shirley Jackson — considered the queen of the domestic psychological horror genre.

"In reality, everything can be scary and as I am a very hypochondriac and obsessive person, it doesn't take much," Feito told EFE.

How has a Spaniard been able to portray the New York high society lifestyle so well? Because she had the chance to get to know it well.

"When I traveled over the years with my parents to New York it was five-star madness. All we would do was walk up and down Fifth Avenue and then eat oysters at the Palace," Feito explained in another interview with the online media outlet, EPE.

The story of Mrs. March, with its anguish and delusions, has caught the attention of actress and film director Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men, The Handmaid's Tale), who amid the pandemic, contacted Feito to tell her that the novel had captivated her and that she wanted to star in it. The project is not yet a reality, but Feito is confident that it will soon be underway.

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