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Book review: Outlaws by Javier Carcas

The spanish novelist has spent his career upending the liberal pieties of the post-Franco generation

By Evelyn Toynton   July 2014

The Spanish writer Javier Cercas made his reputation in 2001 with Soldiers of Salamis. The novel begins as a perfect postmodernist shaggy-dog story, in which Cercas skilfully muddles fact and fiction, casting doubt on the reliability of narrative, of truth itself. But by the end, the book steps away from postmodernism to reveal itself as a passionate affirmation of old-fashioned humane values. While Cercas has devoted his literary career to exploring moral ambiguity, he has also affirmed the possibility of heroism wherever it may be found—and not always among those who are seen as the good guys.

The novel’s protagonist…

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