Book Notes: Isaac Rosa’s Happy Ending

One positive development I’m seeing in Spanish literature is that writers are moving away from stale, meaningless postmodernism and are starting to write good, very readable books about important things.

Take Isaac Rosa. I never managed to read anything by him because his stuff was too postmodern even for me, a literary critic trained to read any kind of text. And then he turns around and writes Happy Ending, a novel about marriage, children, love – stuff that really matters and not inane verbal games and sarcastic smirks. The story is great, and the way the novel is done technically is masterful.

In the novel, a married couple, Antonio and Ángela are planning to divorce and are telling the story of their relationship from what they think will be its end backwards to the beginning. The story of a marriage falling apart told from the different perspectives of the husband and the wife has been done a million times. But Rosa makes it fresh, absorbing, and beautiful. The novel is the most powerful statement I’ve read in forever about why marriage is important.

The book is like marriage therapy, and it has that effect on Antonio and Ángela. It can have a great effect on the readers, too, because this is the kind of reading that makes you think. It’s just so good!!!

I’m now trying to figure out who else I can go bug with how great this novel is.

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