by Juan Marse - £6.99 Vintage (2004)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780099455172 | ISBN 10: 009945517x
In this masterly and unforgettable evocation of childhood and adolescence, Marse paints a picture of family life in a suburb of Barcelona at the end of World War II and in the aftermath of Spain's harrowing Civil War.
David's alcoholic father, who is being pursued for political reasons, has deserted David and his attractive red-haired mother. David inhabits a fantasy world, fuelled by the films he sees at his local cinema and by images of war - Spitfires crashing into the sea, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima - and by the image of an RAF pilot whose photograph is pinned on his bedroom wall. David and his friends spend their time collecting lizards' tails, which are symbols of the detachment and uncertainty which characterise their young lives in troubled post-war Spain.
"It's magnificent. Once you have finished the novel you feel bound to start again, despite the fact that it has been unforgettable."
(Vanguardia)"Hauntingly well written, full of tightly drawn characters, well crafted, rhymically impeccable. The language is slangy, staccato, dense and smooth, poetic and prosaic... Juan Marse's contribution to European fiction has been consistently remarkable; 'Lizard Tails' sustains his high reputation."
(Times Literary Supplement)
(Price & availability last checked: May 2018)
In booklists: World Fiction - Europe, Writers by Surname - M, World Fiction - Spain, Historical Fiction, Peace and War in Fiction, In categories: Fiction, World - Europe, History & Biography, Peace & Human Rights,