Snippet: Planeta 2016 to Dolores Redondo

Some excerpts from an excellent article by Carles Geli for El País:

The 65th edition of the Planeta Prize, a round number, required a flashy name, but also one the would fulfill the requirement of wide diffusion, and this is nowadays achieved by crime novels, the en vogue genre.  And further, as has been the norm during the last editions of the prize, it should go to somebody who belongs to us [i.e. the same publisher]. And all of this converges in a spectacular fashion in the writer Dolores Redondo, one of the latest great phenomena of Spanish publishing with her Baztán trilogy (more than 400,000 copies sold, published by Destino, label of Planeta group; a tourist route already created; a movie in the making…).

In Todo esto te daré [All of this I will give to you], the novel with which she has won in Barcelona and pocketed the 601,000 EUR in prize money, Redondo doesn’t go on with the adventures of the trilogy’s policewoman from Navarra, but she keeps up the tone of a crime novel in which a famous writer discovers after an accident the double life of his partner. The runner-up was, to not be out of tune in a soiree that counted with the presence of the Spanish king and queen and some of the most important Spanish and Catalan politicians, for another phenomenon: Marcos Chicot, author of one of the most sold e-books in Spanish (El asesinato de Pitágoras [The assassination of Pythagoras]), who, in recoil of his great success, again sets a plot that combines crime and historical novel in the classic Greece of the philosophers: the new title, El asesinato de Socrates [Socrates’ assassination] (150,250 EUR in prize money).

“I had to take a break, breathe and tell another story that I had had within me during a lot of time, six years, a novel about servitude to the bad; the title is a proposition of greed, words of the devil in the gospels,” assures Redondo (San Sebastián, 1969), who a little more than one year ago finished Ofrenda a la tormenta [Offering to the tempest], with which she closed a cycle begun in 2013. In reality, in her new novel from the earlier trilogy she has only left a certain aftertaste of ghostly family secrets and the rural ambientation, though here it is a village in Galicia (the writer has Galician ancestors) and not the valley in Navarre. In this village arrives a writer who is after the traces of his partner who has suffered a grave accident. The mishap reveals a supposed double life of the deceased, which the writer intends to clarify, supported by a retired policeman and a friend who is a priest.

In the work everybody is suspicious, similar to the style of Agatha Christie novels, one of Redondo’s literary references together with P.D. James and Ruth Rendell. They are only a few references of a writer who was a voracious reader from childhood, and yesterday especially moved: she admitted to have participated already years ago in a prize that as a child she “watched on television dreaming to be there.”

The prize does nothing but strengthen Redondo’s ascending career, that, after writing some children’s stories and short fiction, began seven years ago with the novel Los privilegios del ángel [The angel’s priviledges] (2009), and then got off with El guardián invisible [The invisible guardian] (2013), the first installment of a trilogy protagonized by the Navarran police commissioner with a strong character, Amaia Salazar, already translated into 15 languages. And it’s reverberations don’t seem to have an end: for 2017 there is foreseen the third and last part of the comic strip version of the trilogy, and also the release of the movie adaptation of the first part, directed by Fernando González Molina and produced by Atresmedia, the audiovisual division of Planeta.

 

The posts on the Baztán trilogy are among the most-read of this blog: volume 1, vol. 2, vol. 3. Your blogger hasn’t read any of the books yet as he is not a friend of mystic realism or supernatural elements in fiction. His mother in law likes them a lot, though, and she has already travelled to the Baztán valley…

More on earlier Planeta prize winners and the prize itself can be found here: 2015, 2014, 2013.

SOURCE: El País, Oct. 16, 2016

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