The Faint-hearted Bolshevik


The Faint-hearted Bolshevik

14,95 €

Short-listed for one of the most prestigious literary awards in Spain before being made into a successful film, The Faint-hearted Bolshevik has, over the fifteen years since its first edition, become an undisputed classic of contemporary Spanish literature.

One morning in a traffic jam on his way to work, a driver is distracted and slams into the car in front. When the woman driving the other car reacts with a torrent of abuse out of all proportion to the incident, the driver cracks and decides to teach her a lesson, by dedicating his whole summer to ruining this foul woman’s life. But his plans for revenge are thrown by the sudden appearance of Rosana, his intended victim’s compelling teenage sister, and he finds himself and his base instincts severely tested . . .

Caught up in this impossible affair, the man’s thoughts turn in moments of weakness to that famous photo of the last Tsar’s daughters, as he tries to put himself in the place of the Bolshevik hired to kill the beautiful Grand Duchess Olga; a man who was surely, just like him, a victim of his own faint-heartedness.

So, within a story somewhere between comedy, suspense and melodrama, Lorenzo Silva uses his main character to present a vicious critique of today’s world of work, and the inner conflicts of a frustrated middle-aged man, which is at the same time a story of ill-fated love with an unexpected twist. 

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Financial Times, February 27, 2015

“A disturbing modern classic from Spain is finally available in English”

 A story combining paedophilia and class hatred is always going to make for an eye-catching blurb. It took Spanish writer Lorenzo Silva four frenzied months to write The Faint-hearted Bolshevik in 1995 and, boosted by a 2003 film adaptation, the novel has never been out of print since. Thanks to Nick Caistor and Isabelle Kaufeler’s translation, an anglophone readership can now experience a troubling Spanish modern classic.

—Julius Purcell
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The Complete Review, December 4, 2013

The narrator of The Faint-hearted Bolshevik really dislikes Mondays, and the Monday he begins his story with is worse than most. Distracted for a moment, he rear-ends a car in the morning traffic jam. He acknowledges it's his fault, but the woman whose car he hit really gets on his nerves and he decides to teach her a lesson -- and by doing so, as he already admits at the outset: "I managed to turn a simple traffic accident into a hell of a downfall".

—Michael Orthofer
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Three Percent, 2014

Let’s say you’re in a car accident. It’s not a bad one. You rear-end someone on a busy highway where traffic is crawling. And let’s say the person you hit happens to be a wealthy woman who leaps from her vehicle and berates you in language unfit for the ears of small children. What would you do?

—Peter Biello
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154 PP / 5.5" x 8.5" 

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