González Ledesma, another author awaiting translation into English

He has been translated into French, Italian and German, but this blogger found no English books or references. This short biography comes from his official webpage (only in Spanish):

Francisco González Ledesma (Barcelona, 1927) is a lawyer, journalist and writer.  His work was first recognized in 1948 when he won the International Novel Prize José Janes, the jury included Somerset Maugham and Walter Starkie, for Sombras viejas [Old Shadows]. But the winning novel was censored by the Franco regime and the author’s promising future experienced a setback.

Due to the dictatorship’s restrictions, González Ledesma started writing popular [“Wild West”] novels under the pseudonym of Silver Kane for the publishing house Bruguera. Fed up with his work as a lawyer, he studied journalism and began a new career at the dailies El Correo Catalán [The Catalan Post] and later on La Vanguardia [The Vanguard], reaching the position of editor in chief in both newspapers.

In 1966 he was one of the twelve founders of the Grupo Democrático de Periodistas [Democratic Journalists’ Group], a clandestine association in defense of press freedom during the dictatorship.

With democracy firmly established, in 1977 he published Los Napoleones [The Napoleons] and in 1983 El expediente de Barcelona [The Barcelona File]. With the latter novel he made it into the shortlist for the Premio Blasco Ibáñez, and it is here that his emblematic character, the inspector Méndez, appeared for the first time. In 1984 he won the Planeta Book Prize with Crónica sentimental en rojo [Sentimental chronicle in red], the definite recognition as a writer.

As a lawyer González Ledesma received the Roda Ventura prize, and as a journalist the El Ciervo prize. In 2010 he was awarded the Creu de Sant Jordi [St. George’s Cross; Catalonia’s highest civil order] for his journalistic career and for his work’s quality, known beyond Spain’s borders.

The Spanish Wikipedia’s article on the writer says the following on his crime fiction:

“His novel’s protagonist, inspector Ricardo Méndez, a mixture of scepticism and point of honor, follows the canon of crime fiction. Méndez appears for the first time in Expediente Barcelona and inaugurates a novel series that, together with the city of Barcelona, constitutes the central nexus of [González Ledesma’s] novels.”

In early 2011, González Ledesma suffered a stroke, and after four month in hospital, in January 2013 he was still in rehabilitation treatment when Rosa Mora wrote in El País about his latest novel Peores maneras de morir [Worse manners of dying]:

“… is the most sentimental of his 10 crime novels, with an aged Méndez who is still kicking the streets of a Barcelona that he doesn’t recognize any longer. It is pure Ledesma, of high intensity, with different histories and characters that  crosslink until they form part of the same plot. The topic, taken up on other occasions before, is prostitution; but not the one of small locales, well-known by the inspector, but an international women trafficking organization with its epicenter in Barcelona – something so enormous it nearly overwhelms Méndez. The good thing is that the victims become executioners. … There is a lot of violence in this novel, more than 10 deaths, a lot of action, distressing persecutions and a beautiful love story. … Mendéz is more melancholic than ever, desperately nostalgic for the Barcelona he knew. In the novel he tells his story. When he was a Franco-regime policeman who persecuted “Reds”, whom he then used as prison contacts. He will never get a promotion. He is compassive with the weak and unrelenting with the really bad.”

This blogger read the preceding novel, No hay que morir dos veces [One doesn’t have to die two times], and doesn’t have it clear what to make of this author: the inspector’s humanity and the descriptions of the sordid areas of a Barcelona inhabited largely by poor immigrants, unknown to the tourist, and seemingly forgotten by the city administration, are fascinating. On the other hand, the explicit descriptions of violence and death are repulsive.


2 thoughts on “González Ledesma, another author awaiting translation into English

  1. Pingback: González Ledesma, another author awaiting translation into English | The Game's Afoot

  2. Pingback: Francisco González Ledesma, Writer, Dies at 87 | literary rambles

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