Opening in 1978, three years after the death of Generalissimo Francisco Franco, this stimulating and provocative novel comes to life through the point of view of Gafitas, a naïve, middle-class sixteen-year-old drawn into the alien world of Zarco, a school dropout who lives in the poorest section of the city of Gerona, in the far northeast of Spain. With no guidance, no prospects, no hope, and no future, Zarco and his friends have only the miserable present to look forward to, and their primary goals are to do the best they can with what they have and to take what they don’t have if they can get away with it. Forming a gang of quinquis, they commit petty crimes, and as the novel opens, Gafitas, cruelly bullied by his former school friends, has made informal contact with them during his school vacation. Dazzled by Tere, who may or may not be Zarco’s lover, he is easy prey for the gang, which needs an innocent-looking accomplice for a robbery. In the course of the summer, Gafitas experiments with drugs, sex, and the excitement of behaving in a way that is totally alien to everything his family believes in. A foiled bank robbery changes his life and those of the gang. Part II takes place thirty years later, when Gafitas, now a lawyer, is approached to defend his former gang leader Zarco. Highly literary in its approach to the subjects of identity, moral responsibility, and truth as each person sees it, the novel illustrates how a person’s past influences his perception of the present and how that, in turn, influences that person’s actions which affect the future.
Category Archive for 'Catalonia'
Catalan author Quim Monzo’s new collection of short stories captures the reader’s attention with its surprises, tickles with its humor, bewilders with its disturbed, often absurd characters, and ultimately arouses deep sadness with some of its portraits of the elderly and those close to them. Included are seven full-length stories in Part I, and twelve, very clever one- or two-page mini-stories in Part II, each of these stories playing with reality, especially the reality of love, as Monzo’s characters and his readers understand it. These characters often experience and react to a very different reality from that of the reader, and, therein lies the stories’ tension as the characters make unexpected or bizarre decisions and move in unique directions. These sudden twists lead to innumerable surprises even for the most jaded reader, and no one can dismiss these stories as “too weird” (even if one were ungracious enough to want to do so) simply because the characters and their stories share so many details with our own everyday realities. As absurd as the characters and their lives may be, we can see that there are always strong and familiar truths embedded within even the strangest realities here, and we are always able to empathize with some aspect of the characters’ lives. Filled with wonderful stories which are full of surprises, A Thousand Morons reflects life’s absurdities at the same time that it also reflects the realities of life and love, an intriguing collection of stories told with wit and great panache.