A true story packed with fiction, from the admired Spanish writer, Javier Cercas
Who is Enric Marco? An old man from Barcelona who claims to be a Nazi concentration camp survivor and rises to be president of Spain's leading Holocaust survivor movement, the Friends of Mauthausen. By the time he is unmasked in Austria in 2005 on the eve of the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of the camp, he has become a civic hero, speaking at hundreds of conferences, granting dozens of interviews, receiving state honours, publishing a successful memoir and even moving Spanish congressmen to tears at a memorial homage to Republicans deported by the Third Reich. The case shocked the world, and Enric Marco was labelled a great imposter to which he responded: "I am an impostor, but not a fraud."
A decade later, Javier Cercas addresses the enigma of the man, his truths and lies, and, through an investigation that unravels Spain's history in the twentieth century, delves with passion and unflinching honesty into that deepest part of human nature - our infinite capacity for self-deception, our need for conformity, our lies, our insatiable thirst for affection and our opposing needs for fiction and reality.
The Impostor is an extraordinary novel that not only tells Marco's self-deluding story, but also challenges the reader to consider how truthful any of us is in the way we present ourselves in daily life. Are we not all, asks Cercas, the novelists of our own lives?
Translated from the Spanish by Frank Wynne
Swift and captivating prose, yet calibrated to the millimetre and?as obsessively rhythmical as ravel's Bolero. - El Pais.
Without doubt, his best novel. - ABC.
The Impostor is a humane, artistically responsible and civilised book, one that you finish feeling heartened that such a serious-minded writer as Cercas is at work. - Sunday Times
No Spanish writer has probed the unhealed wounds of the country's history with more subtlety and rigour than Mr Cercas - Economist
A very rich text, a true textile of interlinked threads of thought, of history and of stories . . . The Impostor is fiction dealing with the value of history; and it is a history about the vital value of fiction as a guarantor of reality - Bookanista
Besides being a piece of nifty journalistic detective work, Cercas' book is an insightful psychological study . . . Both convincing and compelling - Spectator
Truth and fiction blend in an outstanding novel about a Holocaust impostor - Sunday Times "Must Reads"
Masterly . . . Cercas probes this mysterious and extraordinary life with uncommon patience, uncommon skill and uncommon sympathy. - Scotsman
A fascinating, highly charged, scalpel-sharp dissection. - The Times
Javier Cercas is one of Europe's most serious and attractive writers . . . Cercas is not content with the easy story, in this case the unmasking of a false hero. He boldly searches for the hidden truths of his elusive subject and his times. - Literary Review