La Vanguardia called him one of the most important living Spanish writers, Rafael Chirbes (Taverna de la Valldigna, 1949). His latest novel, En la orilla [On the shore], deals with the material and human desolation of the current economic crisis. Set in a desolate landscape in which appear prostitutes, mafiosi, field hands, unemployed, businessmen, workers, retired, pedophiles, terrorists, cocaine addicts, immigrants -Romanese, Latin American, and Arab-, and a carpenter forced to close shop.
The plot is summarized as follows: there appears a corpse in the Olba reservoir, an area severly affected by the crisis, where Esteban closed his business and is taking care of his dying father. But according to its author, the plot is not really important. “It’s a novel of digressions. The important thing are the voices. … It’s about a world left to its own devices where everything is rotting. … It’s about the great hangover after the biggest feast of power, money, and sex ever to have taken place in Spain.”
Chirbes autodefines himself as a firm advocate of realism: “… the most radical materialism, to reduce the things to that closest to the bed and money…” and he sustains “The middle class is reading me, [a class] that I don’t know personally.”
Wikipedia article [Spanish]. Other than a few blog entries, e.g. here on the preceding novel, in English there are few mentionings to be found for Chirbes. None of his novels has been translated into English so far.
Update (August 2015): Amazon.com announces the translation into English as On the edge to be available from January 2016.
[All information on Chirbes’ latest novel and his comments are taken from an article by Xavi Ayén, published in La Vanguardia, on March 20, 2013, p. 31]