The fourth book was short, punchy and fun – in a sense, it made me remember the old Santiago Segura's Torrente, mainly by the vast number of ridiculous helpers of our friend the peluquero.
Again, a perfect beach read.
You don't have to read my summary – better read the one by El Pais.
As expected, a perfect vacation read in mid-July, un libro verdaderamente veraniego.
La Aventura is the third book in Mendoza's well-known crazy detective series – and I like each installment more and more. El Laberinto de Las Aceitunas was definitely better than La Cripta Embrujada – and El Tocador, better than El Laberinto (though, to say the truth, while I remember La Cripta's story a little bit, I can recollect Las Aceitunas jackshit).
In a nutshell, this one particular murder story is a typical Spanish/French/whatever comedy of stupid situations – and narrated by its nameless protagonist, who is finally out of the mental institution that he had to run from investigating stuff in installments 1 and 2.
As a rather serious writer, Mendoza publishes one such piece of funny pulp a decade or so, as a pinch of sugar to his more serious novels – and, surprise-surprise, its fourth volume was out recently. Shall I indulge myself? More sugar, spice and everything nice? Umm
Given that I am offcially on vacation this week, I've decided to pay a quick visit to a relatively unknown territory (well, at least for me) of literatura ligera.
Eduardo Mendoza is definitely a borderline kind of author on the subject, with some of his novels competing to run for la selección española de las obras maestras contemporáneas, including his most recent Riña de Gatos: Madrid 1936.
On the adventurist side, apart from his excellent Sin Noticias de Gurb alien comedy, his most prominent light series is a collection of several novels about an unnamed detective loco. While for the year or so I was contemplating whether to read installment #2, first published in 1982, about the olives labyrinth (not present in the novel, by the way – as compared to the actual crypta in installment #1), Mendoza came up with his fourth one last year.
I guess the most common feature of the two novels in the series I've had so far – while they are absolute fun to read, it seems Mendoza never knows how to finish them properly, and in the last 20% of the book (as kindle kindly and precisely indicates) things take the most strange turns and typically end nowhere. But I guess that matters un pimiento – in Mendoza's easy fiction, the process of reading (ie partcipating) is much more than the result itself. Truly Olympic spirit, huh. Shall I start the third one now, about el tocador de señoras? Hm.
Don’t really know what pushed me into reading Mendoza’s first mad detective comedy novel, written back in 1977 – size, I guess, quite attractive size of bare 200 paginitas “de bolsillo” – and the fact I’ve always liked Mendoza’s style.
In a nutshell, a strange tale about a delusive Barcelona crook confined in a mental institution who gets out on a forced mission to solve a mystery that kept me thinking “why did they pick him?”, composed as a light and funny story. The ending was, eh, mediocre at best – but hey, Mendoza has never been after the result – he is after process.
True as it may be, the book is not on par with Mendoza’s locally (not sure about internationally) acclaimed La Ciudad de Prodigios, Una Comedia Ligera and his latest Premio Planeta winner Riña de Gatos. Madrid 1936 – all of which are perfect period pieces – I hope I will find time to re-read the first two again in the future (for those who don’t know Spanish, no doubt translations are available) – nevertheless, La Cripta is a fast pageturner that eased my overworked mind during three or so evenings, and I now have a serious backlog of a dozen magazines I now subscribe to.
Realized it has two sequels – El Laberinto de las Aceitunas and La Aventura del Tocador de Señoras – should I read them as well? Uh-huh, quizás.
As usual for his works, Mendoza adds a spy novel angle to its tale – it’s full of action and mystery – but don’t be fooled – it’s a not a story of fake Velazquez and spies from Lubyanka – it is one about popular revolt hanging in the air, both communist and fascist – coupled with Mendoza’s love for Spain and Madrid in particular. Quite amusing indeed – te pegas al libro y ya…
Reminded me of La Comedia Ligera – rather than Mauricio – though, I have to say, I poorly remember both