I’m not a huge admirer of novelist Rosa Montero, so I never considered reading her first novel Cronica del desamor published in 1979. If her mature work is not that good, I mused, the very first novel must be quite weak. Critics were unanimous in their dislike of the novel, which strengthened my reservations.
And then I was forced to read the novel (for my research) and discovered that critics are idiots. It’s extremely good. It’s just the kind of writing I enjoy. A wonderful, wonderful novel. Sadly, the writer’s later work didn’t live up to this first novel.
What’s really funny, though, is how similar the novel is to the literature that was written in the former USSR immediately after its collapse. It’s as if the end of totalitarianism produced the same literature in entirely different places. Somebody could write an article on this. Not me, though, because it’s not the kind of stuff I care about.