31 noches is good. That is the Spanish title of a book of some 150 pages that is an easy afternoon read. It was previously published as a weekly (?) read in some Madrid newspaper in 2009. Now it has come out in book form. Well. Not easy, but it is a fast read. And you won’t be disappointed. Apart from a lightning fast pace, the author shows insight in the social, political and sociocultural realities in Spain. The plot is set in Madrid. Since I hardly know Madrid, the book was difficult for me in as much I had to mostly imagine the places he was talking about since he merely stated the name of a certain district but took it as read that people will know the place. But it does not do the book and its understanding any harm. The book is full of insider knowledge, but also full of allusions. But the later ones are hidden in the things that some of the characters say or the way they speak or think. Mind you, this is not a read for children, neither for adolescents. This is an adult read. It is painfully adult at times. But nevertheless a good book.

How did I come across this book? I virtually stumbled upon it. It popped up in casa del libro when I was looking online. Since I write something that may be called similar in terms of topic (but only very roughly) I thought this would be an interesting read. And it was. However, it struck me how few expressions colloquial terms /frases fetes/ I know in Spanish and which therefore I had to guess… and how many I know by now in Catalan. But I digress…

Read the book. It is definitely worth it. It is a mix of crime, film noir, but also a bit of a belated coming of age novel. And at the end the book has a mean twist, something quite unexpected happens.

PS: One question remains to be answered. When a serious journalist like Escolar writes fictional books, they are never just fiction

… Are they?

31 noches de Ignacio Escolar