“Cercas is a master storyteller.”
Chairperson: Carmen Sanjulián
Javier Cercas has long been acknowledged as one of Spain’s leading novelists, but it was his fifth novel, Soldiers of Salamis, that brought him international fame. Based on the true story of an encounter between a Falangist writer and the Republican soldier who refuses to kill him, Soldiers of Salamis sold more than a million copies worldwide and won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2004. Cercas is fascinated by the ways in which popular memory corrupts real historical events, reducing everything to a simple struggle between good and evil. His next book, Anatomy of a Moment, turned to non-fiction to describe the infamous moment in 1981 when Francoist civil guards stormed the Spanish parliament and were defied, not only by the prime minister but by the leader of the communist party. Now, with Outlaws, Cercas returns to that era in fictional form. Gafitas is a bespectacled sixteen-year-old schoolboy who falls for Tere, the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen. Three decades later, Gafitas has become a successful criminal lawyer, but when Tere walks back into his life, asking him to defend a man he hasn’t seen for thirty years, Gafitas is pulled into a struggle between loyalty and betrayal.