First, a big GRACIAS to everyone who’s ever written a book. I have my head buried in one of them for a couple of hours a day. As an only child, I’ve always read and read and read. I rarely watch films anymore but books do the trick. Here is a list of my favourite Spanish authors and some of their books. I am only including the Spanish titles as you can easily search for them nowadays in translation too.
Having spent most of his childhood in the USA, Javier Marías is not only a writer of essays and fiction but also a translator and columnist for the Spanish newspaper El país. He published his first short story when he was only 15 years old.
The first novel I read of his was Todas las almas (“All Souls”) which is set in the University of Oxford where the author has taught a number of times. His prose is beautiful, blending past and present and managing to emerge you completely not only in the world of the university, but also in the psyches of his characters. His more dense Mañana en la batalla piensa en mí (Tomorrow in the Battle, Think of Me) is written in what feels like stream of consciousness and like, Corazón tan blanco (A Heart So White) is not only covered in romance but is also full of suspense as the protagonist (and hence the reader) discovers the life of the woman who lies beside him on his bed, dead.
Todas las almas
Beautiful prose and again, engaging characters that stay with you after you have put down the book.
You can read more about this one on my blog.
He manages to create a myriad of characters, absorbing you into a whole new world.
Las bailarinas muertas.
This guy is hilarious although he will not be to everyone’s taste. Reminds me a bit of Confederancy of Dunces.
Lo mejor que le puede pasar a un cruasán.
Alicia Giménez Bartlett
Detective novel Spanish style, love them! (You can read more about my thoughts on her on my blog.)
In 2011, Giménez Bartlett won the Nadal Prize, one of the most prestigious prizes awarded to a novel in Spain. Her winning novel was called Donde nadie te encuentre (“Where no-one can find you) and has a historical figure at its centre. The novel tells the story of a man who sets his heart on meeting Teresa Pla Meseguer, La Pastora, an enigmatic figure who emerged during the Civil War. She was part of the maquis, an antifascist guerrilla movement who made the mountains their home and continued fighting the fascist regime until the 1960s. La Pastora, became a bit of a legend as she had a condition similar to hermaphroditism, which results in a person having both male and female physical characteristics. During her time as a maqui, she was known both as Teresa and Florencio and was eventually incarcerated for a number of murders.
Alicia Giménez Bartlett is also known for her crime novels which have the policewoman Petra Delicado (delicado means ‘delicate’) as their protagonist. They are light, entertaining and reflect contemporary Spain at the same time as keeping you in suspense.
Muertos de papel
Humourous in style and most times, rich in plot.
El laberinto de las aceitunas
Mario Vargas Llosa
Yes, I know he’s not Spanish (but from Perú) but I couldn’t miss him out of this list. His books vary – some are more heavy going than others, but some are really, really funny.
Pantaleón y las visitadoras