Manuel Rivas: O último día de Terranova (The Last Days of Terranova)

The latest addition to my website is Manuel RivasO último día de Terranova (The Last Days of Terranova). In 2014 Vicenzo Fontana is having to close his beloved bookshop in a small Galician town, as the owners will not renew the lease and want to sell the property for development. The book is the ruminations of Vicenzo, going back to how his mother founded the shop, later aided by her brother and husband before Vicenzo took over. We learn of his time in an iron lung when he had polio as a child and how that has continued to affect him We see how they smuggled in books banned by the Franco government and learn of the repression by the Francoists as well as by the military dictatorship in Argentina, when Vicenzo is joined by Garua, an Argentinian woman fleeing the Argentinian secret police. We also follow various colourful characters as well as a host of literary references from Homer to the present day. Galician culture is also key. It is wonderful novel with various sub-plots and Vicenzo’s ruminations on literature, politics and life.

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