• Javier Cercas. "The 'procés' has been the fuel to write"

You will not be a Spaniard, right? "Sergeant Blai fires without a bullet but with all intent against the Mosso d'esquadra Melchor Marín. The young man, who has not turned 30, has noticed a sticker with the flag independentista where " Catalonia is not Spain " is read on a cork in the police station of Gandesa, Tarragona. Mossu has just arrived from Barcelona where he has killed four jihadist terrorists in Cambrils, part of the Las Ramblas attack network (17 August 2017) and in which 15 people died.

-What are you looking at? he asked with a mischievous smile. The flag?

Melchor did not answer. The sergeant's voice was pregnant with irony.

-You won't be a Spaniard, right?

This time Melchor felt compelled to answer.

"I don't understand politics," he said.

"Yes," said Sergeant Blai, slightly sarcastic. Well, I have a theory, you know? I believe that he who says he is neither independence nor Spanish is that he is Spanish. And that who says he does not understand politics is that he is a Spaniard of balls. How about?

This fragment of Terra Alta, the novel by Javier Cercas has managed the recent Planet Prize, a is the most tense in the political sphere of the novel. Melchor Marín seeks calm and sanity after the media fuss that has caused his courage (although no one knows his identity) in Terra Alta , a Catalan region where "time is left" and nothing happens ... until it happens. It happens that they appear murdered and tortured the marriage Adell, the very wealthy of the area, next to their Romanian maid Jenica Arba.

The protagonist of this black novel also has its past. His mother has been a prostitute and he himself has been in the prison of Cuatro Camins after an adolescence of alcohol and cocaine. From the father, it was never known. And that is another trauma that drags this mocetón. In a room in the house, as a child I listened to how his mother's clients came and went, but he never knew for sure who he was. He will suspect a lawyer "disastrous, with the air of a charlatan and an absurd patience" that will help him throughout the book, but without any certainty. The mother, Rosario, made the street near the Barça field. "It was of a wild, intense and plebeian beauty." Until one night he had barely worked, he climbed alone, against an unwritten rule of the trade, to a dark car with "a bunch of good children who have gone out to have fun with Dad's car" about four in the morning. early morning. The Niñata, as she was known, appeared dead. As the mother of the American novelist James Ellroy, who when the future writer was 10 years old his mother was raped and murdered. The culprits were never found and this determined his literary career. The hero of Cambrils decides to be a policeman to avenge his mother's death.

Terra Alta is also a tribute to literature, especially to Les Misérables . Melchor Marín has a passion for this book, has read it several times and identifies himself with Javert, the policeman of Victor Hugo's novel, and not with his main character, Jean Valjean. "Javert is a false bad and the false bad are the real good . The false good are the real bad," he says at one point in the novel. The mosso , who left school very soon, will discover the books and these will end if not saving him at least they will protect him, they will be his refuge. The foreigner , the tin drum , Doctor Zhivago or Life: instructions for use appear on these pages. Police officers will ironize several times about their devotion. "The reality is a place where there is everything, including a lot of morons and psychopaths that do not comply with any rules," says sub-inspector Gomà. "The novels have no rules. There is his grace," Melchor Marín replies.

Revenge, the greed of money, the blackmail of the murderer (or his accomplice), human passions, the shadow of the Civil War (the very long one of the Battle of the Ebro), the wounds that have not healed, always latent, the ill-treatment and its aftermath, Opus Dei ... braid a novel in which Javier Cercas plays on the mistake and reads out of breath.

The uncertainty of who the murderer may be, that the obvious may be true, the constant suspicion, the danger of being carried away by intuition or a hunch keep the reader in suspense along a sinuous argument, which goes back and forth, including a cameo from Carles Puigdemont .

Javier Cercas, who dazzled with Soldiers of Salamis and to whom we have to thank other novels such as The impostor or the laws of the border , has ahead a whole saga with Melchor Marín as a solitary hero who already only drinks Coca-Cola, with his nine - millimeter Walther P99 in the underarm, dejected by insomnia based fighting and sleeping pills just you have literature as an ally. Although he is no longer alone; He has a daughter of a few years whom he baptized as Cosette, as the daughter of Jean Valjean, of course.

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