“Pablo Neruda’s only daughter, Malva Marina, was born in Madrid, in August 1934, and died a little over eight years later, in Nazi-occupied Holland, from the complications of hydrocephaly. She hadn’t seen Neruda for six years, and he refused to acknowledge her passing. In fact, he doesn’t once mention his first-born child in the 400 prolix pages of his 1974 memoir, Confieso que he vivido (Memoirs, 1977)Still, in the months following his daughter’s death, Neruda did find the time to prevent her mother and his first wife, Marietje Hagenaar, from escaping to Chile. Marietje ended up in a Nazi transit camp; the liberation, in May 1945, saved her from deportation.

“How could Neruda, the Nobel Prize–winning champion of the oppressed, abandon his wife and child like this? That’s the central question driving Malva, the debut novel from Dutch poet Hagar Peeters (b. 1972).”

Neruda’s Ghosts, by Sebastian Faber (link)