Who is Enric Marco? An elderly man in his nineties, living in Barcelona, a Holocaust survivor who gave hundreds of speeches, granted dozens of interviews, received important national honors, and even moved government officials to tears. But in May 2005, Marco was exposed as a fraud: he was never in a Nazi concentration camp.
The story was reported around the world, transforming him from hero to villain in the blink of an eye. Now, more than a decade later–in a hypnotic narrative that combines fiction and nonfiction, detective story and war story, biography and autobiography–Javier Cercas sets out to unravel Marco’s enigma.
With both profound compassion and lacerating honesty, Cercas takes the reader on a journey not only into one man’s gigantic lie, but also–through its exploration of our infinite capacity for self-deception, our opposing needs for fantasy and reality, our appetite for affection–into the deepest, most flawed parts of our humanity.
Javier Cercas’s trenchant writing, his range of reference, and incisive commentary soon make his book compelling (and instructive) reading
Claire Hopley, Washington Times
Acclaimed Spanish novelist Cercas looks deeply at the curious case of a man who wasn’t there . . . A charged examination of a surpassingly strange matter and of the masks and fictions we construct
Luminous. . . Magnificent. . . As well as an incisive piece of journalistic investigation, Mr. Cercas’s book is a subtle essay on the nature of fiction and the ways in which it can invade our lives and transform them. . . But his sickness is a sickness of our time, of a culture in which truth is less important than appearance and in which performing is the best (and perhaps the only) way of being and living. Fiction has replaced reality in today’s world and, for that reason, the everyday characters of the real world no longer interest or entertain us. Fantasists do
Mario Vargas Llosa, The Wall Street Journal