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What Nobody Cares About (Lo que a nadie le importa)

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Original Language: Spanish | 256 pp. | September 2014

2 Seas Represents: Dutch and English rights (USA & Canada).

MEMOIR | HISTORICAL NOVEL

A “non fiction novel” halfway between family biography, social chronicle and autofiction, What Nobody Cares About reflects the silence to which hundreds of thousands of Spanish people were subjected, after being forced to take up arms for the Civil War. They lived their lives while nobody, absolutely nobody, recognized their suffering experienced during the battle.

“Be quiet, I don’t even want it to be you who closes my eyes.”

With these words, levelled at his wife from his deathbed, eighty-year-old José Molina breaks the silence he has kept for decades. His words linger in the mind of his seventeen-year-old grandson, who, for the first time, begins to suspect that behind his stern, dry and crotchety grandfather, there lies a scarred past riddled with fear. Years later, now a grown man, this grandson will try to piece together the words that were never spoken, and to discover, in the process, what his own silences are made of.
José Molina grew up in the twenties surrounded by reams of fabric and women in an old textile shop. His childhood was broken, as much by the war as by a family founded on whispers, superstitions and female maledictions.  He spent his life battling: first as a recruit on the nationalist side; and later as an assistant in El Corte Inglés, a store that he would watch transform into an empire, in Celia Gámez’s Madrid. Far from being any kind of hero, José ended up becoming one of the many survivors.

Sergio del Molino has written a beautiful, intimate novel; a family portrait in which memory and the present interweave within a innovative account of his country. Spain here is depicted as being full with silences; a country in which one cannot say anything, because everything seems to have already been said.
As shown in his previous work, The Violet Hour, del Molino has a complete control of the language, which endows a brilliant narrative style, that keeps the reader attentive until the last line, without hesitation.