Cristina Morales, Lectura fácil [Easy reading (Neither master, nor god, nor husband, nor party, nor football)], 2018, 424 p.
Premio Herralde de Novela 2018
They are four: Nati, Patri, Marga and Àngels. They are related to each other, they have got different grades of what the Public Administration and Medicine consider “intellectual disability”, and they share a supervised apartment. They have spent a good part of their lives in RUDIS and CRUDIS (urban and rural residences for people with intellectual disability). But above all they are women with an extraordinary ability to face the conditions of domination that they suffer from. Theirs is the oppressive and bastard Barcelona: the city of the squatters, the NGO of those oppressed by their mortgage payments, the anarchist academies, and the politically correct art.
It is a radical novel in its ideas, in its form, and in its language. A cry-novel, a politicizing novel that crosses voices and texts: a fanzine that puts in check the neoliberal system, the minutes of a libertarian assembly, the declarations before a court that wants to sterilize one of the protagonists by force, the autobiographic novel written by one of them with the Easy Reading technique…
This book is a battlefield: against the monogamous and white hetero-patriarchy, against the institutional and capitalist rhetoric, against the activism clad in “the alternative” to shore up the status quo. But it is also a novel that celebrates the body and sexuality, the desire of and between women, the dignity of those marked with the stigma of disability, and the trangressive and revolutionary capacity of language. It is above all a visceral, vibrant, combative and feminist portrait of contemporary society with the city of Barcelona as its stage.
Lectura fácil confirms Cristina Morales [Granada, Andalucía, 1985] as one of the most powerful, creative, nonconformist and innovative voices of contemporary Spanish literature.
from Carlos Pardo’s review:
[Earlier novels by Cristina Morales:] Los combatientes [The fighters] (2013), Terroristas modernos [Modern terrorists] (2017)
Cristina Morales already was an essential writer to understand a lot of paths with no return of the contemporary novel, but she hadn’t written any book yet at the height of her ambition. This is Lectura fácil, …
Morales’ genius is manifest from the first pages, in the same manner as her intuition to turn such difficult material … into a hilarious Beckett-like novel, funny but also very sad… Because Morales seems to like getting out of the dead end streets into which any risky narrative decision could take her. […]
[F]or a long time there hasn’t appeared any work more realistic in its social discourse and less conventionally realistic in its writing. One could also say that this is the first really original novel of this lengthy state of exception and resistance named with a euphemism: crisis. Therefore, Lectura fácil is a milestone of the recent Spanish novel.
You can read more on Cristina Morales in the first post on the 2018 Herralde prize, dated Nov. 15, 2018.
SOURCE: Anagrama (publisher); review in “Babelia,” El País, Jan. 5, 2019, p. 5 [printed edition]