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Book Reviews

Learning to Lose: A Novel by David Trueba

From one of Spain's most celebrated contemporary writers, Learning to Lose is a lucid and gripping view into the complexities of lives overturned and into the capriciousness of modern life, with its intoxicating highs and devastating lows.

Learning to Lose: A Novel by David Trueba

Learning to Lose

A Novel

Author: David Trueba

608 pp. Other Press

From one of Spain’s most celebrated contemporary writers, Learning to Lose is a lucid and gripping view into the complexities of lives overturned and into the capriciousness of modern life, with its intoxicating highs and devastating lows….

Set against the maze of Madrid’s congested and contested streets, Learning to Lose follows four individuals as they swerve off course in unexpected directions. Each of them is dodging guilt and the fear of failure, but their shared search for happiness, love, purity, redemption, and, above all, a way to survive, forms a taut narrative web that binds the characters together.

A story of 3 generations of a Spanish family in Madrid and the ramifications of choices they’ve made. Fate has certainly set before them incidents that lead to those choices and the questions of immigration and sport as business are issues in the background.

Lorenzo retreats from Aurora’s impending death by becoming overly fascinated with an African prostitute. Leandro, who has murdered his former business partner and whose wife Pilar has left him, becomes involved with an Ecuadoran au pair and daughter Sylvia is hit by a car driven by Ariel, a newly arrived Argentinean soccer player. The novel centers primarily on where the choices lead Lorenzo, Leandro, Sylvia and Ariel.

The questions and problems of each couple are timeless and Trueba (with his able translator) has written a beautiful novel, which speaks to the truth of who we are and how we define, or are defined by, our relationships. This is a novel to be read by anyone who likes to keep up with European literature as well as book clubs interested in exploring generational choices in living, and finding comfort in life.


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