COMING-OF-AGE DEBUT NOVEL WITH A MUSICAL TWIST | 2018 | 320 pp | Spanish language original

A poignant, exquisite story about the fate of a violinist woman escaping a military regime and landing in Berlin 1980's countercultural scene

Clara is nine years old when her absent father, actively involved in the political resistance, is officially declared disappeared by the authorities. A passionate violin student, her childhood is riddled with fear and violence, but also with beauty and blissful music.

Along with her instrument and her childhood treasure —an old skull called Gerundia— Clara flies to Berlin and moves into a squat house, assisting to the alternative, counter-cultural scene of the 1980’s. Clara’s journey reflects the paradoxes of love, lust and loneliness, and presents the eternal migrant experience of professionals musicians, always on the road. 

Sharp, heart-warming and disturbingly funny, constantly challenging the limits of language and masterfully melting music with words, Vibrato is a luminous, elegant and unbearably moving debut novel.

Spanish language original


World Spanish: Alfaguara, 2017 | Turkey - Ketebe, 2018

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“A feast of talent”

— Andrés Neuman

Kalpa Literary Agency

Wise and deeply beautiful; like a stone breaking the sound barrier”

— Yuri Herrera

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I’m going to miss this world as soon as I close the book”

— Samanta Schweblin

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An extraordinary writer”

— Fernando Aramburu


Isabel Mellado


Easily flowing between the exploration of the literary possibilities of musical language, to the professional practice of classical violin, Isabel Mellado is one of the most original contemporary fiction writers from Chile. 

A former scholar of the prestigious Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic, she settled in the german capital more than twenty years ago, and she currently splits her musical activity between chamber music projects in Berlin, and her position as first violinist at the Ciudad de Granada Orchestra (Spain). 

Mellado is the author of a delightful debut novel, Vibrato (2018, Alfaguara), and the stories collection El perro que comía silencio (Páginas de Espuma, 2011), both of them showcasing a persistent and delicate presence of music.

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