El ladrón de morfina

451 Editores, 2010 | The Morphine Thief


France, Passage du Nord-Ouest / Pocket, Seuil


“Using daring literary means, Mario Cuenca makes us see and understand the elusive madness of all armed conflicts.” Isabelle Rüf, Le Temps

“An adventure novel where states of consciousness are the heroes.” Mathieu Lindon, Libération

"A book about war, the Korean War, but also every other conflict. A book about horror, brimming with poetry and beauty, with room for humour. Full of fury and sounds that make music from the very first page.” Le Liens

«A wonderful novel.» María José Obiol, El País

«He has an immense literary talent, writes like a master, his prose is of the highest quality, he is at a level of the literary greats (and I speak not of the best in Spain, but the best in general) (…) This is literature. This is the literature. This is the literature of the twenty-first century.» Andrés Ibañez, ABC

«Captures an atmosphere of violence, irrationality, absurdity, terror, and anguish in the vein of the greatest pages of anti-war and anti-military literature.» Santos Sanz Villanueva, El Cultural

«A splendid, hypnotic, demanding, and hallucinatory revisitation of the horror of Joseph Conrad, sampled from Coppola’s Apocalypse Now and Denis Johnson’s Tree of Smoke.» Ricard Ruiz, El Periódico


(The Morphine Thief) This story takes place in Korea, in the heart of war. On a night in 1951, Flaco Bentley, one of 187 airborne recruits from the United States, descends by parachute over the battlefield, eight thousand miles from home. In the war, he’s found death and horror, sure, but also a Colombian angel; an officer-artist who draws tanks with his typewriter; and morphine-traffickers and sex. And he understands that whenever there are two levels of war—one fought in the trenches, at ground level, and another up high—the result is hallucination, intoxication, and the curse that forces us to ask ourselves what we want and who we are: an added punishment, because it is always the case that we want what we cannot have and we are what we had not even suspected. In the end each man fights his particular battle in the field of desire and identity