Javier Cercas’ “El impostor”

The publisher’s summary:

A fascinating novel without fiction saturated with fiction; the fiction part doesn’t come from the author: it comes from Enric Marco.

Who is Enric Marco? It is a man in his nineties from Barcelona who pretended to be a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps and who was exposed in May 2005, after presiding for three years over the Spanish association of survivors, giving hundreds of talks and dozens of interviews, receiving important medals and moving in some cases to tears the Spanish parliamentarians that had assembled to honour for the first time the Republicans deported by the Third Reich. The case went around the world and converted Marco into the big impostor and the big disgraced. Now, nearly one decade later, Javier Cercas besieges, in this hipnotic thriller that is also a banquet with a lot of courses -narrative, chronicle, essay, biography and autobiography-, the character’s enigma, his truths and falsehoods and, through this inquiry that covers nearly one century of the history of Spain, with a kamikaze’s passion and a piercing honesty dives into the deepest of our own: into our limitless capacity for delusion, into our conformism and our lies, into our unquenchable thirst for affection, into our counterposed necessities of fiction and reality, into the most painful areas of our recent past. The result is a book that doesn’t talk about Enric Marco but about you, reader; also the most rebellious and radical book by Javier Cercas: an astonishing book, with an unprecedented audacity, it widens the limits of the novel genre and explores the last frontiers of our humanity.

“We also love Cercas more after this book that reads quickly and is hard to forget.” José-Carlos Mainer, El País

This blogger liked Outlaws (Las leyes de la frontera), cf. post, the preceding novel by Javier Cercas (Ibahernando, 1962; Wikipedia); four of his novels have been translated into English so far.

SOURCE: El País, Nov. 17, 2014; Random House

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