27th May 2015
Last month saw the paperback edition of The Outlaws hit English bookshelves. With its mixture of guns, drugs and car chases it offers readers all the thrills of a crime novel, but the story also bears witness to years of transition when Spain moved from dictatorship to democracy.
The novel is inspired by Juan José Moreno Cuenca’s life of crime; Cuenca himself was a heroic outlaw, and became a minor celebrity in Spain before his death in 2003. In response, Cercas crafts a novel about delinquency and alienation; painting a portrait of a group of friends whose lives are defined by class and the consequences of their crimes.
‘The Outlaws’ follows Cercas’ own trend of exploring boundaries and liminal spaces in Literature. During his tenure as Visiting Professor in Comparative Literature he discussed the nature of the novel, and sought to find a definition for its complex character. Using his own writing- which falls somewhere between fiction and nonfiction- he made the case for the novel being a melting pot of other genres. But, just as the novel may have cannibalized all other genres, Cercas also asserted that great writers are those who can marry complexity with ambiguity, and he identified irony as the defining feature of all great novels.
Cercas’ tenure as visiting professor is due to finish on June 4th with a free, public discussion on European Literature, Politics and Historical Memory, where Javier Cercas will be joined by Timothy Garton Ash, and Patrick McGuinness. More details can be found here: http://bit.ly/1SBE7m3
In addition to his events as Humanitas Visiting Professor, Cercas will also be in conversation with Peter Bush at Blackwell’s Bookshop on June 10th. The pair will discuss Spanish and Catalan fiction in translation. More information about this event can be found here: http://bit.ly/1xXFmAE