LORD OF ALL THE DEAD is a courageous journey into Javier Cercas' family history and that of a country collapsing from a fratricidal war. The author revisits Ibahernando, his parents' village in southern Spain, to research the life of Manuel Mena. This ancestor, dearly loved by Cercas' mother, died in combat at the age of nineteen during the battle of the Ebro, the bloodiest episode in Spain's history.
Who was Manuel Mena? A fascist hero whose memory is an embarrassment to the author, or a young idealist who happened to fight on the wrong side? And how should we judge him, as grandchildren and great-grandchildren of that generation, interpreting history from our supposed omniscience and the misleading
perspective of a present full of automatic answers, that fails to consider the particularities of each personal and family drama?
Wartime epics, heroism and death are some of the underlying themes of this unclassifiable novel that combines road trips, personal confessions, war stories and historical scholarship, finally becoming an incomparable tribute to the author's mother and the incurable scars of an entire generation.
There is no-one writing in English like this: engaged humanity achieving a hard-won wisdom - The Times
A remarkable act of personal history: brave, revelatory and unflinchingly honest
Cercas' candid wranglings with how to tell this tale, his own deep discomfort and the grave maturity with which he acknowledges he can't feel morally superior to Mena make him a wonderfully warm and wise guide through this sad, small chapter of the Spanish Civil War. - The Times
Javier Cercas was born in 1962. He is a novelist, short-story writer and columnist, whose books include Soldiers of Salamis (which sold more than a million copies worldwide, won six literary awards in Spain and was filmed by David Trueba), The Tenant and The Motive, The Speed of Light and The Anatomy of a Moment. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages. He lives in Barcelona.