From novels by Carmen Mola to Martin Amis, 2021 has given us several good literary possibilities to surprise our loved ones.
As the days grow short and the cold weather starts to bite, there really is nothing better than sitting in a cozy chair curled up next to the fire. New books by established authors and the occasional newcomers pop up to delight us, and with 2021 coming at the back of a national lockdown, writers have had plenty of time to put pen to paper. Below, we have compiled a list of ten books that we think will make excellent Christmas gifts.
“The beast”, by Carmen Mola (Planet)
This year, the intriguing, addictive, frenzied novel that won the Planeta Award is a clear candidate for gift wrapping. Set in Madrid in 1834, the plot focuses on the fact that the plague is not the only thing that terrifies its inhabitants but that dismembered corpses of girls appear in the suburbs that no one claims. All rumors point to the Beast, a being that no one has ever seen but that everyone fears.
“Those who wait for their duel”, by Carlos Sanclemente (Berenice)
In this novel, the author delves into the sordid world of South American political corruption to weave a story in which an armed gang kidnaps a middle-aged man who has left his wife. The book is a tale of magical realism that plunges the reader into a quest against the clock.
“Los vencejos”, by Fernando Aramburu (Tusquets)
After the success of “Patria”, the writer returns to the launch scene with this work, in which he tells the story of Toni, a high school teacher angry with the world and who decides to end his life. He has a date for it, within a year, and until then, every night, he will write a personal chronicle, hard and suspicious, as well as being tender and humorous.
“Last days in Berlin”, by Paloma Sánchez-Garnica (Planet)
This book can be summed up in one idea: Love and hope are more powerful than hatred and fury. This work, a finalist for the Planeta Prize, focuses on when Yuri Santacruz attended the appointment as Chancellor of Adolf Hitler without imagining how much his life in Berlin could change. His sense of justice will drive him to defend a young communist attacked by Nazi stormtroopers, and his priority will become staying alive.
“Never”, by Ken Follett (Plaza & Janés)
This novel means the return to the thriller of Follett, who centers the plot in the Sahara desert. Two intelligence agents follow the trail of terrorists risking their lives, especially when they fall madly in love. He also travels to China, where a senior government official is battling the Party’s hard-wing, and the United States, where the president faces a global crisis and harassment from political opponents.
“The Italian”, by Arturo Pérez-Reverte (Alfaguara)
Between 1942 and 1943, during World War II, Italian combat divers sank or damaged fourteen Allied ships in Gibraltar and the Bay of Algeciras. In this novel, based on actual events, the case of Elena Arbués is narrated, a 27-year-old bookseller who meets one of these divers while walking on the beach, vanished between water and sand.
“From nowhere,” by Julia Navarro (Plaza & Janés)
Starring characters who live in permanent conflict with their identity, this novel has its roots in human nature and its chiaroscuro. Abir Nasr is a teenager who witnesses the murder of his family during an Israeli army mission in southern Lebanon. Faced with the corpses of his mother and little sister, he vows to himself that he will hunt down the murderers even if it costs him his life.
“From within”, by Martin Amis (Anagram)
The great Martin Amis gives us an excellent opportunity to give at Christmas, especially for those who love his work. In this ambitious book, which mixes novels and memoirs, the author explores lived experiences, evoking people important to him and reflecting on writing as the art of counting. Pages through which three fundamental figures parade: the mentor Saul Bellow, his friend and colleague Christopher Hitchens, and the lonely and brilliant Philip Larkin.
“The man in the red robe,” by Julian Barnes (Anagram)
In 1885, three Frenchmen came to London to “make intellectual and decorative acquisitions.” While there, they were a prince, an earl, and a commoner. The latter was Samuel Jean Pozzi, a dandy, a great seducer, a cultured man, and a pioneer in gynecology. In addition, he carried an elegant future that was immortalized by the painter John Singer Sargent in a portrait that has now inspired Julian Barnes to create this work.
“The immortal flame of Stephen Crane,” by Paul Auster (Seix Barral)
The writer recreates in this biography of Stephen Crane (1871-1900) the fascinating life and creative energy of the young writer, journalist, and poet, author of “The Red Badge of Courage” (1895). He lived 29 years, but in that short time, he cultivated the novel, the stories, the poetry, and he was an adventurous journalist who covered the Cuban War. A work in which Auster offers a window overlooking life in New York and London at the end of the 19th century.