Everybody loves a winner! Javier Cercas, best known for the civil war docufiction Soldados de Salamina (Soldiers of Salamis, 2001)*, has just been announced as this year’s recipient of Spain’s prestigious national prize for fiction, the Premio Nacional de Narrativa. The book for which he won, Anatomía de un instante (Anatomy of a Moment, 2009) is another history-fiction hybrid, this time about the attempted coup on the Spanish Parliament in 1981, which is known as 23-F after the day (23rd) and month (February) when it occurred.
When the news was announced, Cercas said: “Hoy la Transición tiene una leyenda rosa y otra negra. Las dos son inciertas” “Today we have two versions of the story of the Transition [to democracy], one light and the other dark. Both are false.”
Want to find out more? Try these links: ELPAÍS.com (Spanish); La Vanguardia (Spanish); El Debat (Catalan); By the Firelight (English); The Literary Saloon (English); The Latin American Herald Tribune (English)
* The excellent English translation by Anne McLean was published as Soldiers of Salamis by Bloomsbury in 2003. Here are links to the Observer review and the Independent on Sunday review. It was filmed (in Spanish) by David Trueba in 2003.