¡Hola a tod@s!
I’ve been meaning to read and review Spanish books for caffeinatedlife’s Everything España: a 2014 Reading Challenge but as of last month had made as many steps towards doing so as Russia has towards backing out of Ukraine.
Today this changes! Today, I review!
And it’s a fairly good book I’m reviewing too: No Word from Gurb by Eduardo Mendoza
Blurb (from back of book)
A shape-shifting extraterrestrial named Gurb has assumed the form of Madonna and disappeared in Barcelona’s back streets. His hapless commander, desperately trying to find him, records the daily pleasures, dangers, and absurdities of our fragile world, while munching his way through enormous quantities of churros. No stone is left unturned in the search for his old pal Gurb.
Will Barcelona survive this alien invasion? Will the captain ever find his subordinate? Are there enough churros in Barcelona to satisfy his intergalactic appetite?
I suppose that this novel counts as a Space Opera on some level. There are aliens and there is strangeness and a lot of hilarity. I also like this novel much more than I feel that I should as I’m the only person I know who has thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
So why did I find it highly entertaining? Possibly because of the commander’s ridiculous transformations into different people, from Delia Smith to Miguel de Unamuno (as he felt fitted the situations) were brilliantly timed and made me grin a fair amount.
Possibly because the narrator’s portrait of Barcelona as it prepared to take its place on the world stage in the early ‘90s was interesting and amusing. The comments on Cataluña and especially Barcelona- provided a snapshot of the region at an exciting period in its development and capturing the grittiness as well as the glamour of it. For some reason as I was reading this, I could imagine Almodóvar (in his younger years) adapting and directing this with much more sex, a few more gender-bending moments, more drugs and even more dog poo.
Not entirely sure whether people who aren’t au fait with or interested in this particular era will enjoy it as much due to some of the references made to specific events and places in the text.
This was a good start to the Everything España challenge. It was snappy and funny and aimed at people who’re particularly fond of their references to different and occasionally obscure people.