On October 15, 2014, the Planeta group awarded its “rich” prizes again (–more than nine times the Man Booker money for the winner — there are always doubts as to the quality of the selected books that make for nice Christmas sales for the publisher…). This year the main prize was given to the Mexican journalist Jorge Zepeda Patterson (Mazatlán, Sinaloa, 1952) with the novel Milena o el fémur más bello del mundo [Milena or the most beautiful femur of the world], a thriller about a young and beautiful Croatian woman trapped in a prostitution ring between Mexico and Spain.
Zepeda, a veteran journalist, started as a fiction writer in 2013 with Los corruptores [The corruptors], a quite successful novel on political corruption. Milena… , according to Carles Geli in El País, can be considered a sequel as “Los Azules” [the Blue], a group of four former classmates who now occupy important positions in Mexican society, are protagonists again. They will save the life of a Croat prostitute, victim of a Ukrainian mafia. The woman, kidnapped in her country, is brought to Marbella and later to Mexico, where she meets “Los Azules”. Zepeda uses this scenery to portray power’s entrails, his fetish topic. “Milena belongs to prostitution’s platinum elite; moving among these powerful men, she feels their pulse.” The moral is clear: “Globalization, far from ending people trafficking, has professionalized a practice that didn’t exist 15 years ago.” And in relation to the journalist’s profession: “It is very difficult to narrate in a chroncle how four times the victims are beheaded or what moves a policeman to mow down 30 students as if this was Ruanda, one needs a novel.”
Runner-up (still more than double the Man Booker money) was the journalist Pilar Eyre (Barcelona, 1951) and Mi color favorito es verte [My favorite colour is to see you; “verte” = pun on “verde” (Sp. “green”)], an autobiographic love story with slight intrigue, based on a middle-aged woman who falls in love with a reporter who disappears. Eyre herself fell in love with a French reporter, who after three days “of passion” returned to Syria and then disappeared near the Turkish border. One of the book’s strengths are the protagonist’s moods.