On the new English translation of Eduardo Mendoza’s “Rina de gatos” and the joy of finally being able to satisfy Books on Spain’s web searchers

In 2010, a novel by Eduardo Mendoza called Riña de gatos: Madrid 1936 won Spain’s prestigious Premio Planeta and in January 2011, I reviewed it on this blog. It’s quite a fun novel, and I rather enjoyed it, mostly thanks to Mendoza’s imaginative recreation of a slightly daffy Englishman’s perspective on the all-too-familiar events of the titular time and place. Ever since, one of the most popular web searches landing people on this blog has been mendoza + rina de gatos + english translation. In fact, the title of the novel itself is the third most popular search of all time (after ‘Books on Spain’ and ‘Julia Navarro’, in case you were wondering). Evidently, Mendoza has lots of frustrated potential readers out there, and I have always felt a bit sad for them. But the frustration is over! The independent publisher Maclehose Press, which specialises in translated fiction, has just released An Englishman in Madrid, in a new translation by the wonderful Nick Caistor. I haven’t read it yet, but Rod Younger has, and you can read his review over at Books4Spain (and maybe be in time to win a free copy…). You can also sample substantial chunks of the book online, including at both Amazon and Google Books.

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