Snippet: Francisco Benítez Reyes, writer

Felipe Benítez Reyes, El azar y viceversa [Hazard and viceversa], 2016, 512 p.

The publisher’s summary:

“We cannot even imagine the places where life is hiding when we, the hustlers [Span. buscavidas = lit. life-searchers], are going out to make a living.”

With reflections of this kind the protagonist of this novel is presented to us: an eternally needy one who grows up in a hostile environment and who adapts to a reality by which he is equally fascinated and bewildered.

Born in a southern village marked by the presence of an American military base, our hero gets to have different jobs, gets to know good fortune’s whims as well as those of adversity, the fulfilled fancies and dreams gone bad, drift and course. In the background there are the dim Spain under Franco’s regime, the mistaken and adventurous years of the so called Transition [to democracy, 1975-1978], and our present of oportunists disguised as saviours.

In his awaited new novel, Benítez Reyes draws a personality that will stay engraved in the reader’s memory: an eternal survivor, a servant to many lords; a melancholic optimist who is not shaken by bad luck. This is a story of contrasts: happy and alarming, realist and enigmatic, vibrating and reflective, sometimes hilarious and sometimes spooky. Like life itself.


The story is set in Rota (in the province of Cádiz, Spain), native city of Benítez Reyes and where the U.S. have got an important naval base with nearly 5,000 soldiers, recently visited by President Obama (July 10, 2016), the first American president to do so since 1953.

The short Wikipedia article on Benítez Reyes (Rota, 1960) mentions that his work has been translated into English but does not mention any titles; doesn’t offer any book by this author in English…

SOURCE: Planeta (publisher)


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