All is Silence-Manuel Rivas
nationality: Spain (Galicia)
Novel in translation
Fins and Brinco are best friends, and they both adore the wild and beautiful Leda. The three young friends spend their days exploring the dunes and picking through the treasures that the sea washes on to the shores of Galicia. One day, as they are playing in the abandoned school on the edge of the village, they come across treasure of another kind: a huge cache of whisky hidden under a sheet. But before they can exploit their discovery a shot rings out, and a man wearing an impeccable white suit and panama hat enters the room. That day they learn the most important lesson of all, that the mouth is for keeping quiet.
Well, I love Rivas so I'm always going to be biased but I definitely enjoyed All is Silence despite its flaws. Everyone always seems so surprised when I mention how big an enterprise smuggling is in Galicia but the nooks and crannies of the ria systems really lend themselves to smuggling and thus a lot of the corruption in the region is based on the sea. Rivas is talking about a proper mafia-style organization (which is before my time) whose motto is the mouth is made for silence. Childhood friends are pitted against each other as adults since they interpreted the motto differently. Though, as usual, poetic but precise, I do have to say that Rivas's language does not feel as well formed as it does in his other novels and the transition between the childhood friends and adult enemies is abrupt but this is still a polished novel that is Galician through and through.