Conquering of the Air
La conquista del aire
One day in October 1994, Carlos Maceda summons his two oldest and best friends, Santiago Álvarez and Marta Timoner, to ask them for a loan. His small company of electric components is going through a financial crisis, and he needs eight million pesetas, four from each of them. Both inmediatly agree to loan him the money, despite the fact that it represents the sum of their savings. However, the apparent security that the three of them demonstrate at this first meeting - Carlos with the certainty that he can trust his friends, Santiago and Marta who have no doubts about helping a friend in trouble- will slowly become, with the passing of days, the tortuous centre of their thoughts, forcing them into a rapid consideration of their values, projects and even feelings. Not only is the friendship between the three of them affected, but also their relationships with their respective partners and families, with their lovers, with their jobs and professional or intellectual aspirations.
In the end, Carlos sells his small firm to a big company, and Santiago and Marta are able to get their money back. Nonetheless, it is not a soothing of happy ending. Everyone has been involved in what Carlos calls "the friends operation" has been deeply affected by the events during the three years that the money changed hands. When their current accounts are again in order, the remaining aspects of their lives struggle to find a safe port, but without any certainty of finding it.
In this novel, therefore, Gopegui clearly aligns herselfwith that prominent European literary tradition which considers story-telling as a kind of moral process. A moral process in which everyone -the characters, the auhtor and even the reader- is alternatively the accused, the prosecuter, the lawyer and the judge.
"Belén Gopegui has constructed the perfect novel for our times, a story as beautiful as lucid"(El País).
"This is not a learning novel, but an unlearning one, and not that often I have read such a beautiful and implacable text as this important novel of such compulsory and necessary reading" (Abc).
"This third novel is the most ambitioEl Mundous and best of her novels. The most complete and truly wise move, as opposed to the banality of much of the prose of the present times" (El Mundo).
TRANSLATION RIGHTS SALES
- France (Actes Sud)
- Italy (Giunti)
- Germany (Pendo)
- Serbia & Montenegro (Alexandria Press)
- Poland (Rebis)
- Romania (IBU)
Belén Gopegui was born in Madrid in October 1963. In 1992 she published the novel La escala de los mapas, which had an extraordinary impact: “An overwhelmingly powerful work… the stunning thing about this novel is the originality of its narrative strategy in full concordance with the rhythm of its prose” (Carmen Martín Gaite). After her fascinating second novel, Tocarnos la cara (1995), with the third, La conquista del aire (1998), she took a definitive step forward: “A perfect novel” (Francisco Umbral). In 2001 she wrote her fourth novel, Lo real: “Belén Gopegui is the writer who produces the best and wisest example of the novel as an instrument of investigation, reflection and political analysis, in the widest possible sense: that relating to the question of the polis” (Ignacio Echevarría, El País). Her fifth novel was El lado frío de la almohada:“The only surprise provided by each new novel by Belén Gopegui is not its quality —something that we can take for granted— but finding out the way she has succeeded” (Rafael Conte, El País). And, in 2007, she wrote her sixth novel, El padre de Blancanieves: “A serious and important work that deserves to be read, because, aside from being interesting because of the plot that sustains it, it urges a reflection on reality”. (Santos Sanz Villanueva, El Cultural); “The reader is seduced by a prose that aims to show reality in ways that are similar to certain works by Godard or through the films of Kluge, Fassbinder, etc.” (Joaquín Arnáiz, La Razón); “With this novel, she reaches her most ambitious heights” (Rafael Conte, El País). Her novels have been translated into Chinese, French, Italian, Turkish, German, Portuguese, Polish, Finnish, Serbian and Dutch.