Book Notes: Welcome, Frau Merkel!

There’s a famous Spanish movie by director Luis García Berlanga titled “Welcome Mr Marshall” (1953). In the movie, a bunch of Castilian villagers prepare for a visit by US dignitaries in hopes of securing aid under the Marshall Plan. They dress up in the stereotypically “Spanish” clothes of Andalusia and pretend to be Andalusian to please the Americans who, of course, never show up. It’s hilarious and sad at the same time.

Luis García Jambrina, a writer and a college professor, rewrote the movie in his novel Welcome, Frau Merkel (2015). In the novel, the villagers decide to dress up as Germans and pretend to be fully Germanized in hopes that Angela Merkel would like them and stop inflicting austerity on them. They make such an impact on Merkel that she decides to withdraw Germany from the EU and seek national sovereignty for her country.

It’s a really good novel, although I don’t think you can enjoy it without knowing Spanish literature all the way from Cervantes and Spanish film since Berlanga. If you do, the novel is irresistible. Really funny.

Spanish literature rules.

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