by Javier Cercas

A Spanish lawyer recounts his adolescent career as member of a gang led by Zarco a notorious gangster now serving a life sentence. The story spans a period of thirty years and there are some interesting insights into the criminal mind. Good descriptions of the slums and red light districts of Gerona, but, for me, no particular Spanish atmosphere. Worth a try for those who enjoy true crime and crime biographies.


'Tell me when you met Zarco.'
'At the beginning of the summer of 1978. It was a strange time. Or that's how I remember it. Franco had died three years earlier, but the country was still governed by Franco's laws and still smelled exactly the same as it did under Franco: like shit. I was sixteen years old back then and so was Zarco. We lived very near each other and very far away from each other ...
Translated by Anne McLean



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