The Songs of Manolo Escobar

The Songs of Manolo EscobarThe Songs of Manolo Escobar by Carlos Alba
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was an unexpected bonus. I’d never heard of the book or even the writer. But it was given to me by someone who knows my tastes. At first glance I thought it might be a biography. In fact, it’s a novel narrated by Antonio Noguera whose from a Spanish family living in Glasgow. The author turns out to be a successful journalist-cum-novelist from a similar background to his protagonist.

Alba has neatly constructed a work of fiction that is both very entertaining and convincing, with a three part non-linear narrative which flits between Glasgow, London and Spain. Given that it spans much of the second half of the twentieth century, the Spanish Civil War almost inevitably weaves its way into the storyline. Faced with an ailing marriage and the illness of a close relative, Antonio returns to Lleida province, in Catalonia, to try to find out more about his family history.

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