The “Best Book of the Year” lists are not always a waste of time. I recently discovered that the #1 book of 2019 in Spain was Lluvia fina by someone called Luis Landero. So I immediately read it and discovered that yes, it’s definitely the book of the year. I wouldn’t say it’s a great work of art but it has a really good story.
And what matters more in reading than a good story?
What I really love about the novel is that it features this completely Soviet-type family that is beyond dysfunctional and insane. I have a strong suspicion that the author trolled Russian-speaking forums which are awash in stories like these.
I really hope the book gets translated because, first of all, it’s a great read, but also, you can’t understand people from my part of the world without realizing that this is what we all come from.
It’s really funny that even though there are, what? two hundred million of us?, we can’t write literature about this stuff. We’ve got to wait for Hispanic authors somehow to guess at our level of insanity and write about it.
I can’t say when was the last time I felt so deeply in tune with anything I read. I don’t need to identify with characters or a plot to enjoy literature. I mean, my favorite novels Moronga and En la orilla are about, respectively, a former Salvadoran guerrilla fighter turned killer and an unemployed elderly carpenter in Spain. But in this book… every character is me, and that’s intense.
Lluvia fina by Luis Landero, remember the title. It’s definitely the book of the year. And as only the third book I read in 2020 so far, it opened a new reading year for me in a wonderful way.