In this “beautifully wrought” novel set in Franco-era Spain, a university student stumbles into a decades-old mystery (New York magazine).
It’s the late sixties, the last dark years of Franco’s dictatorship. Minaya, a university student in Madrid, is caught up in the student protests and the police are after him. He moves to his uncle Manuel’s country estate in the small town of Mágina to write his thesis on an old friend of his uncle, an obscure republican poet named Jacinto Solana.
The country house is full of traces of the poet—notes, photographs, journals—and Minaya soon discovers that, thirty years earlier, during the Spanish Civil War, both his uncle and Solana were in love with the same woman, the beautiful, unsettling Mariana. Engaged to Manuel, she was shot in the attic of the house on her wedding night. With the aid of Inés, a maid, Minaya begins to search for Solana’s lost masterpiece, a novel called Beatus Ille
. Looking for a book, he unravels a crime.
One of Spain’s most celebrated literary figures, the author of Sepharad
and In the Night of Time
weaves a “rapturously gothic” tale that is both a novel of ideas and an intricately plotted mystery (The New York Sun
“A brilliant novel by an important writer unafraid of ideas, emotions and genuine beauty.” —Los Angeles Times
“Already a contemporary classic, this work . . . is an enigmatic gem in the very best metafiction tradition.” —Library Journal