LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL 2018
A TRUE STORY THAT IS PACKED WITH FICTION - FICTION CREATED BY ITS MAIN CHARACTER, ENRIC MARCO
But who is Enric Marco? A veteran of the Spanish Civil War, a fighter against fascism, an impassioned campaigner for justice, and a survivor of the Nazi death camps? Or, is he simply an old man with delusions of grandeur, a charlatan who fabricated his heroic war record, who was never a prisoner in the Third Reich and never opposed Franco; a charming, beguiling and compulsive liar who refashioned himself as a defender of liberty and who was unmasked in 2005 at the height of his influence and renown?
In this extraordinary novel - part narrative, part history, part essay, part biography, part autobiography - Javier Cercas unravels the enigma of the man and delves with passion and honesty into the most ambiguous aspects of what makes us human - our infinite capacity for self-deception, our need for conformity, our thirst for affection and our conflicting needs for fiction and for truth.
Translated from the Spanish by Frank Wynne
Javier Cercas was born in 1962. He is a novelist, short-story writer and columnist, whose books include Soldiers of Salamis (which sold more than a million copies worldwide, won six literary awards in Spain and was filmed by David Trueba), The Tenant and The Motive, The Speed of Light and The Anatomy of a Moment. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages. He lives in Barcelona.
The Impostor is a humane, artistically responsible and civilised book, one that you finish feeling heartened that such a serious-minded writer as Cercas is at work. — David Mills, Sunday Times
No Spanish writer has probed the unhealed wounds of the country's history with more subtlety and rigour than Mr Cercas — Economist
A fascinating, highly charged, scalpel-sharp dissection. — Siobhan Murphy, The Times
Besides being a piece of nifty journalistic detective work, Cercas' book is an insightful psychological study . . . Both convincing and compelling — Daniel Hahn, Spectator
Truth and fiction blend in an outstanding novel about a Holocaust impostor — Sunday Times "Must Reads"
[Cercas] goes about telling Marco's story with great skill, some impressive detective work and an irony that's sometimes amused and sometimes appalled — Christopher Tayler, London Review of Books
A very rich text, a true textile of interlinked threads of thought, of history and of stories . . . The Impostor is fiction dealing with the value of history; and it is a history about the vital value of fiction as a guarantor of reality — Mika Provata-Carlone, Bookanista
Javier Cercas is one of Europe's most serious and attractive writers . . . Cercas is not content with the easy story, in this case the unmasking of a false hero. He boldly searches for the hidden truths of his elusive subject and his times. — Michael Eaude, Literary Review
Masterly . . . Cercas probes this mysterious and extraordinary life with uncommon patience, uncommon skill and uncommon sympathy. — Allan Massie, Scotsman
Cercas as added another literary page-turner to his unique oeuvre. He is a master at combining historical truth and fictional viewpoint. — Big Issue
A fascinating book, very much of our time in this era of fake news and what is called 'historical memories'. — Catholic Herald Books of the Year.
[A] mesmerizing biography of a fraud . . . This rigorous work shines a light not only on the methods of the deceiver but the willingness of the deceived to accept such falsehoods — Publishers Weekly
[The Impostor] vibrates with an insomniac energy . . . it has the hot, charged energy of sitting through a trial . . . The language is precise, distinctive and delicious. — Parul Seghal, New York Times