A mammoth of a novel but well worth the read. What a fantastic book this was. Author David Trueba is well known in Spain as a screenwriter and this book is his third novel, the first to be translated into English.
Trueba’s writing style is straightforward but rich. He sets the mood beautifully from the first page and carries it quite well throughout the nearly 600 pages. “Learning To Lose” is ultimately a novel about dodging guilt and the fear of failure. 16 year old Sylvia has just celebrated her birthday. She is accidentally hit by a car, suffering a broken leg. Behind the wheel is a talented young soccer player who just arrived in Spain from Buenos Aires, and he is ready for stardom both on and off the field. Across town, Syliva’s father and grandfather are finding their own lives suddenly derailed by a violent murder and a secret, obsessive affair, with a Nigerian prostitute. The novel follows each of their lives and the ultimate consequences of their choices and actions. What follows is a truly wonderful story, one which keeps you engaged throughout.
It’s not hard to see that the author has his origins in screenwriting since the prose is very cinematic in a lot of ways. It isn’t hard to imagine this as a film, and what an interesting film it would make.
I’m hoping his other two novels eventually wind up in translation for the English speaking audience. Trueba is truly a gifted writer, one worthy of the world’s attention.