Barcelona, España, 1943

Eduardo Mendoza studied law in Barcelona and sociology in London. In 1973, he moved to New York, where he worked for almost 10 years as an interpreter for the UN. His first novel, La verdad sobre el caso Savolta, was very well received by critics. In 1986, he published La ciudad de los prodigios, one of his most ambitious works considered to be the great novel about Barcelona. His books have been translated into a number of languages, and he’s translated Shakespeare, Lord Byron, E.M. Forster and Arthur Miller. In 2016 he was awarded the Cervantes Prize, the most prestigious distinction in Spanish-language literature, in recognition for his entire career.

  • “He’s the king of literary fusion: he seamlessly sews together voices, genres and narrative registers.” Llàtzer Moix, La Vanguardia 
  • “…the writer who brought modernity to the new Spanish fiction.” Carles Geli, El País
  • “He’s a writer who merits two readings, which are not mutually exclusive, but complement each other.” “His literature is a fascinating exploration of what is most mysterious.” Pere Gimferrer, La Razón
  • “Eduardo Mendoza. There are few literary careers as fruitful as his, or with more readers, marked by dozens of successful works that bring together talent, wit, humour, mystery, a highly refined narrative technique, and formidable use of the language. The new Cervantes Prize winner is essential to any library.” ABC

Bibliography

The first book in the Three Laws of Motion trilogy, which explores the major developments of the second half of the 20th century.

In the early 1970s, Rufo Batalla lands a badly paid job at the New York Chamber of Commerce. Rufo is a classical music enthusiast and recent graduate in Germanic Languages from the University of Barcelona, plagued by a restless heart not even he can tame.

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Novel

The first book in the Three Laws of Motion trilogy, which explores the major developments of the second half of the 20th century.

“New York does not give its inhabitants grandeur, but the energy of heroes.”

In the early 1970s, Rufo Batalla lands a badly paid job at the New York Chamber of Commerce. Rufo is a classical music enthusiast and recent graduate in Germanic Languages from the University of Barcelona, plagued by a restless heart not even he can tame.

He leaves behind a country stuck in the endless death rattle of dictatorship, not to mention a bizarre debut as a society journalist. During his first assignment as a reporter covering a royal wedding, Rufo spends a night of love with the bride before discovering her identity, and wins the friendship and trust of His Majesty, King Tadeusz I, legitimate monarch of Livonia. Now in exile, the king continues to reappear in Rufo’s life when he least expects it. In New York, Rufo befriends a series of characters directly affected by the city’s harsh, violent transformation into the epicentre of profound change that will redefine Western society: racial equality, the gay movement, feminism, and revolutions in the world of modern art. Between the civil service environment of his new job, the high-society parties, and his love affair with the elusive Valentina, Rufo experiences the kind of life he only saw in newspapers and movies back in Barcelona.

 

 

The famous detective without a name or a brain created by Eduardo Mendoza has left the hairstyling business behind and is now getting by as a delivery boy for a Chinese restaurant. One day, while making a delivery, he is attacked by a dog. This incident takes him back to a case from the distant past, when the police liberated him from a psychiatric hospital and he somehow became the prime suspect in a model’s murder.

This humorous adventure has a certain air of farewell to one of the most mythical characters in recent Spanish fiction. His perspective, as outrageous as it is dark, illuminates the past of a city populated by characters –outlandish rogues and hilarious hustlers– in danger of extinction in today’s uniform, globalised world.

The hilarious return of the detective from The Mystery of the Enchanted Crypt, The Olive Labyrinth and The Adventure of the Powder Room. Our hero’s life has not escaped the effects of the recession. Nobody ever comes into his hair salon, and if he ever gets a hot meal, it’s a favour from the Chinese people from the bazaar across the street. His peaceful existence comes to an end when he learns of the mysterious disappearance of Romulus the Handsome, a former fellow inmate from the mental asylum. With no clues or money for a proper investigation, our detective manages to call up characters from the streets of Barcelona: a living statue from Las Ramblas, a pizza delivery guy, a thieving female accordionist, and a teenage girl he tries to educate. What no one expects is for their missing friend to be involved in an international terrorist plot: nothing more, and nothing less, than the organisation of an attack against the German chancellor, who is about to visit the city.

Anthony Whitelands, an English art historian, is invited to Madrid to value an aristocrat's collection. At a welcome lunch he encounters José Antonio Primo de Rivera, founder and leader of the Falange, a nationalist party whose antics are bringing the country ever closer to civil war.

The paintings turn out to be worthless, but before Whitelands can leave for London the duque's daughter Paquita reveals a secret and genuine treasure, held for years in the cellars of her ancestral home. Afraid that the duque will cash in his wealth to finance the Falange, the Spanish authorities resolve to keep a close eye on the Englishman, who is also being watched by his own embassy.

As Whitelands - ever the fool for a pretty face - vies with Primo de Rivera for Paquita's affections, he learns of a final interested party: Madrid is crawling with Soviet spies, and Moscow will stop at nothing to secure the hidden prize.

Prelude to the Spanish Civil War: Eduardo Mendoza's 'An Englishman in Madrid', Counterpounch, 9 Oct 2015

 

Three magnificent stories by Eduardo Mendoza, narrated in the author’s unmistakable and highly personal style. A perfect combination of seriousness and irony. The three stories comprising this volume have one thing in common: they all feature characters who could be regarded as saints. They’re not martyrs or anchorites, but saints to the extent that they’re willing to give up everything for an idea, and cultivate their obsessions in their relationships with others.

The Roman philosopher and natural scientist Pomponio Flato wanders throughout the Roman Empire and searches for the spring of wisdom in the beginning of the 1 c. B.C. This is a funny story about the good, the friendship and the sudden twists of fate.

Mauricio, a dentist with ideals but without character, returns to Barcelona during Spain’s transition to democracy. By chance, he ends up participating in the Socialist Party’s first campaign, and starts a close relationship with two women: the balanced Clotilde and Porritos, who will reveal the darkest aspects of her world to him. The story is set against the backdrop of Barcelona’s excitement about hosting the 1992 Olympic Games and plenty of political disenchantment.

Captain Horacio Dos has been assigned an uncertain mission due to his incompetence and audacity. As head of an outlandish expedition, he’ll travel through space in extremely precarious conditions along with his ship’s peculiar passengers: the Delinquents, the Wayward Women, and the Short-Sighted Old People. On this journey, which will bring them countless adventures, there will be secret paternities and affiliations, courtly performances hiding a seedy, dingy reality, struggles to survive by rascals and hustlers, and plenty of scares and surprises.

The city is Barcelona in the mids of the 20's. The anonymous detective of The Olive Labyrinth , finally released from the mental hospital, finds himself in an even crazier environment – the Catholic society where our detective is the sanest one.

In the late 1940s the Civil War is over, and Franco is still very much in charge. Prullas, a once-popular playwright, pursues a crowded life in the stifling city. His producer wants him to persuade their rich patron Vallsigorri that they cannot use the third-rate actress Lili whom the backer has foisted on him. In the course of playing honest broker, however, Prullas starts an affair with Lili. Fate intervenes—Vallsigorri is murdered and Prullas is prime suspect, but as this is a light comedy, the ending is, to some extent, a happy one.

Sister Consuelo had a perfectly innocent reason for going to call on Augusto Aixel, the rich landowner who lived up the hill from her convent: As Mother Superior, she was in charge of the hospital run by the sisters, and needed funds to start an Old People's Home –social provision in Franco's Spain left a great deal to charity. How a possibly too vigorous squire and an apparently self-possessed Mother Superior became involved in what others might term the baser passions, one sultry summer's afternoon, is the substance of this story. Chance enters the tale in the shape of some bandits who abduct the lady that same night as she is on her way to meet her lover. A misunderstanding between the parties results, which is destined never to be resolved –but neither is the nun's misunderstanding with her religious order.

As in all Eduardo Mendoza's novels, so in The Year of the Flood, the touch is light, the humor a gentle undercurrent; but the true meaning and beauty that will strike the reader lies in the delicate description of two mature people who are a mystery, indeed an affront, to each other, who resort to feints and evasions in order to preserve an inner integrity that must ultimately be violated.

 “Literary Prozac.” Cosmopolitan

 “An accomplished literary novelist who knows how to entertain.” Kirkus Reviews

A shape-shifting extraterrestrial named Gurb has assumed the form of Madonna and disappeared in Barcelona’s back streets. His hapless commander, desperately trying to find him, records the daily pleasures, dangers, and absurdities of our fragile world, while munching his way through enormous quantities of churros. No stone is left unturned in the search for his old pal Gurb.

Will Barcelona survive this alien invasion? Will the captain ever find his subordinate? Are there enough churros in Barcelona to satisfy his intergalactic appetite?

 

One spring morning, Fábregas, a Barcelona businessman fed up with the boring everyday life in his office, decides to travel to Venice. What first seems like a momentary parenthesis in his life soon becomes an indefinite odyssey. A series of chance encounters and unexpected events give him the feeling that reality is governed by certain enigmatic, cultivated laws. His stay in Venice becomes a romantic truce, an encouraging interlude.

Barcelona, chief city of Catalonia plays the role of a magical, protean character in this sprightly novel, a bestseller in Spain. The action spans the years between Barcelona's two World's Fairs of 1888 and 1929.

In 1886 Onofre Bouvila arrives in Barcelona to begin his career as anarchist, salesman, burglar, filmmaker, and commercial-political deal maker, a career that parallels Barcelona's growth into a World's Fair city.

"Sous la forme d'un destin cocasse et drôle, Eduardo Mendoza met en scène avec un génie de l'écriture renversant - nourri d'un humour contemplatif, jonglant entre l'absurde et le caustique - la ville de Barcelone, son histoire et ses habitants, hommes et femmes qui façonnèrent les temps modernes en supportant sur leurs larges épaules le progrès d'un siècle en marche." –Hector Chavez, Babelio

 

 

Our hero, Gonewiththewind, has once again been released by the police from a lunatic asylum in Barcelona. This time his mission is to recover a briefcase filled with money lost under very peculiar circumstances.

Mysteries and mishaps follow each other at breakneck speed, as the hapless detective delves beyond humor and the absurd to the frontiers of the truly surreal.

“Eduardo Mendoza is one of contemporary Spain’s most important writers.” The New York Times Book Review

 “Wonderfully inventive and hilarious.” Guardian

Released from an asylum to help with a police enquiry, the quick-witted and foul-smelling narrator delves deep into the underworld of 1970s Barcelona to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a teenage girl from a convent school. Aided only by his ageing prostitute sister and the voluptuous nymphomaniac, Mercedes, the narrator's investigations take him deeper into a mystery involving murdered sailors, suicidal daughters, a web of organised crime and a secret, underground crypt. 

 


During a period of political neutrality (Barcelona, 1917-1919), an armaments company headed for economic disaster due to labour conflicts serves as the backdrop for this story recounted by Javier Miranda, the protagonist and narrator. The Catalan industrialist Savolta, owner of a business that sold arms to the Allies during World War I, is murdered. Mendoza’s use of humour, irony, a richness of nuances and experiences, parody, satire, the revival of the narrative tradition of the Byzantine and Picaresque novels, books of chivalry, and even the modern detective story make The Truth About the Savolta Case an intelligent and entertaining tragicomedy. With this book, Eduardo Mendoza became one of the most prominent contemporary storytellers in the Spanish-speaking world.

Forty years after its publication, The Truth About the Savolta Case recovers its original censored title. The commemorative edition includes the censorship reports, countered by the words of Juan García Hortelano, Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, Félix de Azúa and Eduardo Mendoza himself, who discuss the relevance of this novel, an intelligent and entertaining tragicomedy that marked the beginning of democracy in Spain and the end of Francoism.

"The Truth About the Savolta Case became a milestone, a revelation, a great success; it was an outstanding innovation, and that’s why they say that it marked the beginning of democracy and the death of Francoism in literature.Javier Marías

"The Truth About the Savolta Case brought new life to the way novels were written and read in Spain." Antonio Muñoz Molina

"From the time The Truth About the Savolta Case was published in 1975 to the present day, I would say that one of the most pronounced and significant features of Eduardo Mendoza’s novels is an exemplary, light-hearted and highly stimulating freedom in his approach to and treatment of diverse genres and literary tendencies."Juan Marsé

Books for children and young readers

Inés is tired of seeing the same faces again and again on the way to school, so her imagination starts transforming her neighbours into much more interesting company. As Inés walks by, the baker, the chemist, the greengrocer, and the doorman becomethe most famous singer on Earth, a fashion photographer from another galaxy, the glass pumpkin queen, and none other than a Mexican bandit feared all over the world. 

Theatre

Restauración, publicada en 1991, abre el Teatro reunido de Eduardo Mendoza. A la inolvidable Mallenca de Restauración, que vive apartada de la ciudad y que una noche recibe tres inesperadas visitas, se unen en este volumen los personajes de las inéditas Gloria y Grandes cosas. En la primera, Gloria y Ricky, fundadores de una editorial en quiebra, buscarán en un nuevo socio capitalista la solución rápida a sus problemas. Finalmente, Grandes cosas cuenta la historia de Daniel, un hombre corriente que un día muere y aparece en el más allá, una oficina en la que Tobías, que tiene mucho tiempo libre, le hace un interrogatorio sobre su vida...

Escritas en catalán y traducidas por el propio Eduardo Mendoza, estas piezas teatrales son una muestra de la originalidad y del humor satírico del reciente Premio Cervantes.

«Mendoza lleva a cabo, a la vez que una investigación en los límites entre lo coloquial y lo lírico […], también un viaje al fondo de la galería de sombras, de obsesiones personales, de mitos privados y de esfinges secretas que determina que sus textos, tan divertidos, nos puedan además conmover en dos sentidos: por el triunfo del puro instinto artístico y por la contenida verdad humana.» Pere Gimferrer

Gloria and Ricky, Silvia and Coponius are two married couples who are friends and the owners of a publishing company. The breakup of one of the couples makes it necessary to find a new partner. A waiter with a double life and a rich, unscrupulous gentleman are the other characters in this play, capable of getting great laughs while also moving the audience to deep reflection.

 

 

 

A humorous portrayal of a series of events inspired by Spain’s Carlist Wars and monarchic restoration of the second half of the 19th century. This is Mendoza’s first play, in which the action takes place in just one day, in one room.

Non-fiction

Like many children in post-war Spain, Eduardo Mendoza studied a subject called Sacred History, an illustrated summary of some Bible passages that prompted his fascination with the written word and the worlds of fiction, while also teaching him to distinguish between what is real and imaginary.

Starting with his memories and the certainty that a society is better explained without forgetting its foundational myths, Eduardo Mendoza revisits the Bible without abandoning the freshness so characteristic of his style. He covers passages such as Eve being tempted by the serpent, Adam and Eve’s expulsion from Paradise, Cain’s death at the hands of Abel, Isaac’s sacrifice, and many more, along with key episodes from the New Testament. As he does so, and without ever losing his narrative thread, he reflects on angels, belief and disbelief, morality and ethics, and how art has dealt with these issues. Las barbas del profeta is a journey to the land of Joseph and his brothers, Solomon, the Tower of Babel and Jonah. It’s led by a writer who repays his debt, or part of it, to what he was then in order to continue being what he is now.

A reflection on key aspects of the Catalan reality.

"I’ve noticed not only the ignorance that exists about the current situation, but also the prejudices hampering the image of Catalonia and Spain, and therefore what’s happening there, the history, and how the people directly involved view and experience events, whether they support or oppose independence. I’ve also found that many of these prejudices and distortions have led to many of the predominant ideas. I wrote this book hoping to provide some clarification. I did not write it to position myself on one side or the other. I wrote it to try to understand what’s happening." Eduardo Mendoza

Corría el año 1993 cuando Eduardo Mendoza recibió la propuesta de seleccionar y presentar los volúmenes de una colección que había de titularse Maestros Modernos Hispánicos. La colección se proponía ofrecer, en 24 entregas, un panorama de la prosa narrativa escrita en lengua española a uno y otro lado del Atlántico durante el agitado periodo que va de mediados del siglo XIX a mediados del siglo XX. Aquí se recogen las 24 presentaciones y los dos prólogos que Mendoza escribió para la ocasión.

En Vidas literarias los más prestigiosos autores contemporáneos escriben la biografía de los clásicos de las letras hispanas. Cada libro ofrece al lector la vida y obra del escritor narrado en un estilo creativo, personal y literario. De este modo el lector disfruta con la lectura de una obra única en su género al tiempo que obtiene también el retrato del personaje biografiado y su obra más representativa. Cada ejemplar incluye una selección de textos de la obra del clásico hecha por el autor, en éste caso, Eduardo Mendoza.

"Cuando empecé a trabajar en el presente texto, lo hice partiendo de dos errores de concepción. El primer error consistía en pensar que Baroja ocupaba un lugar ilustre en la historia de la literatura española. No tardé, sin embargo, en percatarme de que no era así, o, al menos, de que no lo era en el sentido que yo daba a la expresión, esto es, al de haber entrado Baroja en el mausoleo de los escritores sancionados por el tiempo. Con grata sorpresa vi que Baroja seguía siendo un escritor actual, cuya obra se resistía a abandonar en las librerías el sector de "Narrativa" o incluso el de "Novedades" para ocupar otra más digno pero menos vivo en el de "Clásicos". (Eduardo Mendoza) 

Texto incluido en el libro Universitat i Ciutat.

Este libro es una aproximación a la vez imaginativa y rigurosa, tierna y crítica, al período crucial de la historia de Barcelona comprendido entre la Exposición Universal de 1888 y los albores de la primera guerra mundial, un período de relativa estabilidad política y fuertes altibajos económicos, de orden burgués y rebeldía intelectual, de renovación artística y cambios radicales en costumbres, en el que el trabajo y la bohemia, los bailes de máscaras y las bombas anarquistas configuraban la vida de la ciudad.

Travel

El cielo de Nueva York es un cielo racionalista, prosaico, alejado por igual de la sensualidad del Asia Menor y de las brumas fantasmagóricas del Norte. Bajo este cielo, que invita a callejear a pesar de los rigores del clima, un indio a quienes todos llaman Jimmy, pero cuyo verdadero nombre es Washakie, explica al autor que hasta hace poco, en una Nueva York que ya no existe, las luces no se apagaban nunca. Así se inicia un recorrido personal, casi íntimo, por las calles de una ciudad que irá revelando algunos de sus secretos.

Other genres

Cinco litografías de Carlos Pazos,  acompañadas de un texto en prosa titulado Cancionero del negro José, de Eduardo Mendoza, escrito para esta edición.

  • El autor y su obra. VII-XXII (2010). Prologue to War and Peace by Lev Nokoláievivh Tolstói, Planeta

     

     

  • Sueño de una noche de verano, William Shakespeare, Spanish translation, 1986, Producciones Andrea d’Odorico
  • La mansión. Regreso a Howards End, E.M. Forster, Spanish translation, 1993, Planeta
  • Antoni i Cleopatra de William Shakespeare, Catalan translation, 1995. Compañía Anexa Espectacles, Festival Grec-1995
  • Débil es la carne, Lord Byron, Spanish translation, 1999, Tusquets
  • Panorama desde el puente, Arthur Milller, Spanish translation, 2001, Tusquets.
  • La muerte de un viajante, Arthur Miller, Spanish and Catalan translations, 2008, Bitò Produccions S.L.
  • Regreso al hogar, Harold Pinter, Spanish translation, Teatro Español - Madrid Arte y Cultura 
  • Invernadero, Harold Pinter, Spanish translation, Fundación Teatro de la Abadía 2015

Prizes

  • 2017 - Premio José Luis Sampedro, Festival Getafe Negro
  • 2016 - Premio Cervantes
  • 2015 - Premio Franz Kafka (Czech Rep)
  • 2013 - European Book Prize for Riña de gatos ('Madrid 1936')
  • 2013 - Premi de Cultura Nacional from the Government of Catalonia
  • 2010 - Premio Planeta for the work Riña de gatos Madrid 1936.
  • 2009 - Pluma de Plata award at the Feria del Libro de Bilbao, for the novel El asombroso viaje de Pomponio Flato, the bestselling work at the 2008 edition
  • 2009 - Premio Terenci Moix 2009, for best work of fiction for his novel El asombroso viaje de Pomponio Flato
  • 2007 - 6th edition of the Premio de Novela Fundación José Manuel Lara Hernández for Mauricio o las elecciones primarias
  • 1998 - Prix du Meilleur livre étranger (France) for Una comedía ligera and the entirety of his work
  • 1993 - 3rd Grand prix des lectrices, Elle magazine, for El año del diluvio
  • 1988 - Book of the Year, Lire literary magazine, for La ciudad de los prodigios
  • 1988 - Finalist in the Prix Médicis and Prix Femina, for La ciudad de los prodigios
  • 1988 - Premio Grinzane Cavour (awarded to Italian/foreign narrative), for La ciudad de los prodigios
  • 1987 - Premio Ciudad de Barcelona, for La ciudad de los prodigios
  • 1975 - Premio de la Crítica for La verdad sobre el caso Savolta