Announcement! Books on Spain Marathon: DIME QUIEN SOY

It’s true! After buying Julia Navarro’s bestselling monster novel Dime quién soy (Tell me who I am) on my last trip to Spain, and lugging all 1100 pages of the giant hardback across Spain and through the Pennines on my unscheduled diversion via Doncaster (blame the December snows), I have *finally* cracked it open today over a glass of wine in the spring sunshine. [N.B. wine = essential element in acquiring necessary Californian courage to take on this bicep-building project]. 1100 pages! In hardback!

Published in February 2010, Dime has stayed in Spain’s top ten of bestselling books ever since – Qué Leer‘s January bestseller list has it at no. 7 in fiction, and no. 8 overall, just edged out by Mario Conde’s autobiography Los días de gloria. It’s received lots of popular acclaim, but as I moaned just a couple of weeks ago, literary critics have been reluctant to acknowledge its success. As I noted then, given that this is a book we can be pretty sure People Are Reading in Spain, it didn’t get even a mention in an article on What People Are Reading in Spain, probably through a combination of having a female author and being (whisper it) *popular*.

Anyhoo, I’m two chapters in, and so far I’m loving it. This is the first of Navarro’s novels I’ve tried, and I’m impressed by her robust prose, her easy-on-the-ear dialogue, and her pacing. This first section is told from the point of view of Guillermo, an underemployed thirtysomething journalist – he’s stuck writing literary criticism for a low-rent online magazine (!) – whose wealthy aunt offers him an income if he’ll put his research skills to use tracking down the truth behind the family scandal. Guillermo sets off to find out what happened to his great-grandmother, who – so they say – ran off with an Argentinean sea captain, leaving behind her husband and children, and so far he’s tracked down his grandfather’s birth certificate, and managed to put a name to the scandalous great-grandmother.

So, it’s on record. The marathon is underway, and I’ll be checking in every so often with updates. Here’s my not-so-surprising prediction: I suspect that the Argentinean sea captain will turn out to be something quite different, especially given that the elopment happened around 1936 …  I’m also intrigued by the fact that the naughty lady has turned out to be half Basque, half Catalan … I mean, genealogy! scandal! archives! civil war! peripheral nationalisms! – what’s not to like?

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7 comments

  1. bythefirelight · · Reply

    Sounds fun. I look forward to the review.

  2. AISLING OCONNOR · · Reply

    Hi Kirsty,

    It was a pleasure to meet you at the Hispanists conference. What a great blog! I’ll be waiting with great anticipation to hear your review on this book. I hope they bring out a paper-back before I go to Spain this year – Ryanair isn’t very bibliophile-friendly, as you probably know!

    All the best,
    Aisling

    1. Hi Aisling – lovely to meet you too! Thanks for stopping by the blog … hopefully the review won’t be too long in coming, but don’t hold your breath – I’m currently on p.360/1100!!! Loving it so far, though, and can totally recommend it (although, yes, probably best wait for the paperback…)

  3. […] on Spain Skip to content HomeAbout Me ← Announcement! Books on Spain Marathon: DIME QUIEN SOY April 26, 2011 · 7:54 am ↓ Jump to […]

  4. […] tasked by his aunt to investigate the life of his elusive great-grandmother, Amelia Garayoa. When I announced that I was making a start on the novel, I still hadn’t quite grasped the scope of the novel. Navarro herself has described it as a […]

  5. […] I’ve recovered from the marathon that was Julia Navarro’s Dime quien soy, and after a couple of months devoted largely to […]

  6. […] about them. But the problem with bestsellers is that they tend to be really, really long and, as last spring’s reading marathon showed, they seem to be getting longer all the time. What this means, of course, […]

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