Eduardo Mendoza

Eduardo Mendoza was born in Barcelona in 1943. He studied Law and worked as a lawyer with a bank for several years. Between 1973 and 1982 he was a translator for the United Nations in New York. In 1975, a few months before Franco died, Mendoza’s first novel was published: »La verdad sobre el caso Savolta« (tr.: The truth about the Savolta case), whose original title »Los soldados de Cataluña« (tr.: The soldiers of Catalonia) had been banned by the censors. Because of its critical stance, the book was praised as a novel of democratic change, and received the famous Premio de la Crítica. »El misterio de la cripta embrujada« (1979; Eng. »The Mystery of the Enchanted Crypt«, 2009) is the first in a series about the »anonymous detective«, in which the author, in absurd imbroglios, and with elements of the picaresque novel and American detective stories, paints the portrait of Spain after Franco. In 1982 Mendoza returned to Barcelona and began working on »La ciudad de los prodigios« (1986; Eng. »The City of Marvels«, 1990), his best-known piece of fiction so far. It is an ironical account of the grandiose career and inner transformation of a poor young man in Barcelona between the world exhibitions of 1888 and 1929. In addition to several novels, Mendoza has published two collections of short stories, dramas, a biographical essay about Pío Baroja, the author who died in 1956, and – working together with his sister – the illustrated volume on cultural »Barcelona modernista« (2003; Eng. »Barcelona and Modernity«, 2006). His knowledge of history is also reflected in the novel »Riña de gatos. Madrid 1936« (2010; tr.: Cat fight. Madrid 1936), with a plot set right before the Spanish Civil War. Once again Mendoza combines different genres, and tells in a dynamic and multi-layered story about the odyssey of an English art historian, who is about to get lost in the entanglements of politics and love. The satirical crime story »El enredo de la bolsa y la vida« (2012; Eng. The confusion of the bag and life) takes place in a crisis-ridden presence full of resentment and describes the heroic ambitions of a hairdresser and his friends, who want to thwart an assassination attempt.

Mendoza was awarded the Premio Ciudad de Barcelona (1987), the Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger (1998), the Booksellers’ Award at the Madrid Bookfair (2002), the Premio Fundación José Manuel Lara (2007), and the Premio Pluma de Plata (2009). In 2010 he received Spain’s best paid literature award, the Premio Planetat. Mendoza lives in Barcelona.