José A. GARRIGA VELA

El cuarto de las estrellas

Siruela, 2014 | The Star-Studded Room

Awards

***Café Gijon 2013 Novel Award***

Press

«Incredible narrative skills.» Enrique Vila-Matas, El País

“Inner and outer worlds collide to give life to something much deeper, of an intensity only allayed by his flawless prose. (…) A moving encounter between love and death.” J.A. Masoliver Ródenas, La Vanguardia

“A tale told with poetic finesse, a voyage through time.” Héctor Márquez, Mercurio

“An excellent story woven together with the slightest of material. (…) An exploration of the nooks and crannies of the inner life. (…) Garriga offers quality literature, albeit one that calls for readers who are up to the task.” Ricardo Senabre, El Cultural

“A splendid novel with a marvelous cast of characters.” Sagrario Fernández Prieto, La Razón

"A novel with family secrets at its heart. (…) Mendoza and Marsé have singled out his writing for praise.” La Vanguardia

Synopsis

(The Star-Studded Room) El cuarto de las estrellas is the story of a man who suffers an accident that makes his recent memories vanish without a trace, while his more distant recollections reemerge with puzzling clarity. He then decides to retreat to the scene of his childhood to pen a novel woven from the fabric of these memories, and sets up home in La Araña, a dusty, claustrophobic, drab spot in the middle of nowhere, a small town hemmed in by the sea and an omnipresent cement factory. The narrator slowly pieces together his family history, a story shrouded in silence, secrets and surrender that took a sudden lucky (or unfortunate) turn thanks to the winning ticket in the 1973 Christmas lottery. The father invites his family on a trip to New York, the promised land of all film-lovers. However, following the death of his closest friend, neither the holiday nor his newfound wealth can prevent him from sliding headfirst into a self-obsession akin to a living death.

Family secrets are the cornerstone of a novel in which the author has breathed life into ghosts that are so real the reader will end up wondering if it is we who are the ghosts, banished from the homeland to which we long to return, the past, even though it is home to nothing but dust and bones.

** The judging panel was much taken with “an unusual novel, which goes beyond traditional realism with expertly wrought images and situations that cloak the story in an extraordinarily suggestive atmosphere. In short, the sparkling tale of a man who, against a bleak landscape, delves deep into his father’s story in search of his own true self.” **