The Letter-opener

El abrecartas

This novel, awarded the Premio Nacional de Literatura en 2007, begins with the letters that a childhood friend writes during the second decade of the XXth Century to García Lorca, the distant progenitor of our protagonist’s dreams and desires. Beginning with this ‘unrequited’ correspondence, the reader follows the course of this splendid novel, which takes the form of a stream of consciousness that tells the story of the last one hundred years of Spanish life, mixing the nation’s history with the private stories of a group of victims, survivors, fast livers, ‘it’ girls and ‘cursed’ girls. Among them,  appear a group of famous figures, including Lorca, Aleixandre, María Teresa León, Miguel Hernández, Eugenio d’Ors. Personalities in the background, who become an important part of this choral symphony in which the author studies the minutiae of lies, love lost, betrayal, aspiration, disappointment, exile and sexual passion.

«El abrecartas evokes a yearning for what might have been. Many of the letters are sent from beyond Spanish borders - England, France, Switzerland, Mexico, Morocco - or to and from prison; some are censored, others never delivered. The novel is a collage which attempts to reflect nearly a century of turnoil. It is a notable achievement, especially impressive given the challenges presented by the epistolary form. The richness of the voices which the author creates, and the sensitivity with which they are revealed, are testament to the maturity of a highly talented creative writer» (Jonathan Thacker, Times Literary Supplement).

«El abrecartas, is one of the best Spanish novels I’ve read in recent years» (J. E. Ayala-Dip, Qué Leer).

«His best novel, and one of the most pleasant surprises of the season» (Domingo Ródenas de Moya, El Periódico).


Vicente Molina Foix

Vicente Molina Foix was born in Elche and studied Philosophy in Madrid. He lived in England for eight years, where he graduated in Art History from the University of London after which he became a Spanish teacher at Oxford. Dramatic author, critic and  director  (his film Sagitario premiered in 2001), his literary work has developed principally—after his inclusion in Castellet’s legendary anthology Nine new Spanish poets—in the field of the novel. Among his works are: Museo provincial de los horrores, Busto (Premio Barral 1973), La comunión de los atletas, Los padres viudos (Premio Azorín 1983), La Quincena Soviética (Premio Herralde 1988), La misa de Baroja, La mujer si cabezas and El vampiro de la calle Méjico (Premio Alfonso García Ramos 2002). His  extraordinary versions of Shakespeare's Hamlet, King Lear and The Merchant of Venice, and as his film criticism collected in El cine estilográfico, have also been widely celebrated.

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