Natalia is to be married to a German sailor much older than herself, but two days before the wedding she meets Diego, a mysterious young dancer, and they fall immediately in love. When he serenades her on the eve of the ceremony, Natalia's father unwittingly invites him to the festivities. There they dance a tango charged with passion, before Diego vanishes, knowing she is lost to him.
Soon after the marriage Natalia's father dies, and her husband is lost at sea, presumed dead. Penniless and alone, Natalia is persuaded to become a dancer in a tango hall. Diego discovers her there and vows to bring her away from this existence, but their reunion has devastating consequences. Many years later, the spirit of the dance and the lovers' longing for each other draws together two strangers in a haunting meeting, a fusion of time and identities, despair and hope.
Elia Barcelo was born in Alicante in 1957 and teaches Spanish Language and Literature at the University of Innsbruck. She made her name in science-fiction, but with books such as Heart of Tango she is fast gaining the wider readership that she so richly deserves.
David Frye's translations include Thine Is the Kingdom (1999) and Distant Palaces (2004) by Cuban novelist Abilio Estevez, and The Curriculum Vitae of Aurora Ortiz (2005) by Spanish novelist Almudena Solana.