2015 in Madrid: Manuel, a man in his mid-twenties, shot a police officer in self-defense. Fearing imprisonment, he hides in an orphaned mountain village. Entertaining but also poignant, Santiago Lorenzo describes how a reclusive and tech-savvy Manuel set himself up in a house where there was no electricity to begin with. The only human contact between Manuel and his uncle, the novel’s narrator, is via a cell phone. From Madrid, he organizes the weekly delivery of groceries for his nephew and gets him as a conversation coach speaking to Spanish learners over the phone. With this income, the thrifty Manuel makes ends meet. The less it was, the happier he was. Until a rich and noisy family from Madrid rents a house next door in the village for the weekend and disturbs the peace of Manuel. Furious, he made plans for revenge.
Santiago Lorenzo: “I love sabotage”
The author also lives in a mountain village and suffers from his neighbors from Madrid: “How can you vandalize a house unnoticed? That was a wonderful question at the beginning of my novel. I myself sometimes destroy a little thing for the weekend villagers who simply deserve it. And I am especially happy to accept Their signs that say “Beware, alarm system!” and throw them in the house, and I tell them, “Your damn security is worth nothing!” That makes them uncomfortable. And then one day they disappear. I love vandalism.
Manuel vandalizes the neighbor’s family home when they are away. For example, he hides animal guts as foul-smelling bombs in drum shutter boxes and clogs drain pipes with putty. Until Manuel overdoes it and becomes a dangerous creep, the reader must laugh out loud over and over again. Because the former Spanish author ironically portrayed the family as obnoxious. Manuel even invents his own word for this type of person: folgest.
vulgar […] It was a leather sausage that constantly found the cause of a variety of noise emissions, and because there were no lumens, it gurgled as if there was no stopping or tomorrow. Like those who always licked their tongues at the edges of the yoghurt pots and still licked them over and over. The Vulgst was a compendium of chronic ambiguity, excessive animal husbandry, and secular simplicity […].
Fun and refreshingly innovative
“We are all crawling” is teeming with new expressions. Translators Daniel Muller and Caroline Vesiniber have achieved great things. However, this book has a structural weakness: it is inconceivable that Manuel’s uncle could accurately, and almost knowingly, describe the development of his nephew on the basis of only telephone conversations. However, this imperfection hardly spoils the fun and refreshing readability of the original novel. With this, the author does not only raise the mirror to a part of Spanish society. The author attributed the cruel family in the novel to a domestic worker, although he himself thought that was an exaggeration. After the book was published, Santiago Lorenzo’s neighbors traveled with their maid from Madrid on weekends. “I wrote the novel first – now reality imitates it,” laughs Lorenzo.
We all crawl
by Santiago Lorenzo
- page number:
- 240 pages
- a novel
- additional information:
- Translated from the Spanish by Caroline Wiesenberg and Daniel Muller
- Order number:
- 20 EUR