By Javier Cercas
A true story packed with fiction, from the admired Spanish writer, Javier Cercas
The Impostor, by the admired Spanish writer Javier Cercas, is a true story that is nevertheless packed with fiction - fiction created by its main character, Enric Marco.
Who is Enric Marco? An old man from Barcelona who claims to be a Nazi concentration camp survivor and rises to be president of Spain's leading Holocaust survivor movement, the Friends of Mauthausen. By the time he is unmasked in Austria in 2005 on the eve of the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of the camp, he has become a civic hero, speaking at hundreds of conferences, granting dozens of interviews, receiving state honours, publishing a successful memoir and even moving Spanish congressmen to tears at a memorial homage to Republicans deported by the Third Reich. The case shocked the world, and Enric Marco was labelled a great imposter to which he responded: "I am an impostor, but not a fraud."
A decade later, Javier Cercas addresses the enigma of the man, his truths and lies, and, through an investigation that unravels Spain's history in the twentieth century, delves with passion and unflinching honesty into that deepest part of human nature - our infinite capacity for self-deception, our need for conformity, our lies, our insatiable thirst for affection and our opposing needs for fiction and reality.
The Impostor is an extraordinary novel that not only tells Marco's self-deluding story, but also challenges the reader to consider how truthful any of us is in the way we present ourselves in daily life. Are we not all, asks Cercas, the novelists of our own lives?
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.
- Other details
- Publication date:
09 Aug 2018
- Page count:
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"
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.
Without doubt, his best novel. — J M Pouzel Yvancos, ABC.
Swift and captivating prose, yet calibrated to the millimetre and?as obsessively rhythmical as ravel's Bolero. — José-Carlo Mainer, El País.