Eduardo Mendoza is the penultimate Spanish author -saying the ultimate maybe would be more correct, but less cautious and excessively dramatic- merging the knowledge and respect for the best national and Western literary tradition in a vocation of rupture, investigation, and successful personal affirmation. All of this without insulting the intelligence of the reader, nor discriminating the popular. And by reinventing himself title after title.
His first title, La verdad sobre el caso Savolta, opened in 1975 new horizons for the Spanish narrative, due to a surprising structure and a prose where Baroja and Barthelme are braided with legal texts and the anarchist pamphlet, among many other sources. His fourth book, La ciudad de los prodigios, for many his masterpiece, followed a more conventional structure, but enriched with a thousand voices, speeches, and literary records, that make it a mirror of the human conditions and social organization, at the same time as they transformed Barcelona, the scenario, in a universe.
Between those two titles, Mendoza published El misterio de la cripta embrujada and El laberinto de las aceitunas, amusements half way between the police novel and the picaresque, where the “mendozian” genius and humor expressed with greater and more rewarding liberty. Afterwards there were all kinds of things. More introspective novels like La isla inaudita or El año del diluvio; monuments like Una comedia ligera, where vaudeville, the darkness of the Franco period, and bourgeois vacation come together; and very corrosive views on modernity like La aventura del tocador de señoras, in an unbuttoned key, or Mauricio o las elecciones primarias, with a darker touch. There were also books on cities, theatrical works, essays, cinematographic scripts, or translations. And even leaflets for the press, which when they were put into book format had millionaire sells, such as the case of Sin noticias de Gurb, which may seem silly, but it is nevertheless a very worthy successor of the philosophical novels of Voltaire or Diderot.