Contemporary Spanish Novels

Contemporary Spanish narrative and novels are extremely varied and there seems to be a never ending collection of writers who have dabbled in the genre. Concrete styles and movements in Spanish narrative have been scarce in the last few decades, however the number of novels produced keeps on increasing. Plus, contemporary Spanish novel writers have certainly put Spain on the literary map with many of them having their books turn into international best-sellers.

Best-Selling Spanish Authors

Today, Spanish novelists are growing in popularity, and especially outside of Spain itself. There are large amounts of Spanish novels which are translated into different languages and sold all over the world. This phenomenon has helped to turn some of Spain's best novel writers into best-selling authors.

Two of the biggest selling Spanish novelists include Carlos Ruiz Zafón and Arturo Pérez-Reverte. Carlos Ruiz Zafón's book, La sombra del viento has won a large number of prizes and was selected as being one of the top 100 books written in the Spanish language in the last 25 years in 2007, not to mention that it is one of the favorite books of those wanting to study Spanish in Spain. Meanwhile Arturo Pérez-Reverte is famous for his long-running series Las aventuras del capitán Alatriste which is now made up of 7 parts and you would be hard pushed to find someone who hasn't heard of them if you ever visit Spain.

Some Small Literary Movements

Despite contemporary Spanish narrative seeming like a bit of a free for all, with no definitive styles among contemporary authors, there have been a couple of small movements and groups over the years.

Neorealism in Spanish Literature

Neorealism in Spanish literature is a relatively small section of the range of novel writing in Spain, and is distinct from the neorealist style of cinema found in Italy. Similar to the following Nocilla literature generation, neorealist Spanish novelists are clearly influenced by the commercial culture in which they find themselves, particularly by mass media and new technology. However these authors' works were generally released in the 1990s, and the majority wrote their novels at very young ages.

Some of the main writers of the Spanish neorealist generation include Juan Gracia, Gabriela Bustelo, Lucía Etxebarria, and José Ángel Mañas, the author of the famous novel, Historias del Kronen, which was later made into a film.

Nocilla Literature

Nocilla is the term used to describe a collection of contemporary Spanish writers who were born between the years of 1960 and 1976 and whose written work began appearing after the year 2000. The group has also been called the Nocilla Generation, Afterpop and Nocilla Team. In general, the name comes from the trilogy of books written by Agustín Fernández Mallo called 'Nocilla Project'. The term was then coined by journalists to describe this group of young authors. However, one of the group's members, Vicente Luis Mora, preferred to call the movement 'La Luz Nueva'.

According to some, Nocilla literature has an aesthetic which responds to the social condition created by the symbolic excessiveness that mass media has produced, and therefore it is a movement which incorporates many nations and generations. Among the main literary characteristics of the Nocilla generation are fragmentation, interdisciplinary movements, the emphasis on the over-saturation of pop culture amongst the Spanish youth at the beginning of the 21st century, and the contrast of this culture with 'high culture'.

It is the equivalent of 'zapping' in the television world as a large number of characters come and go without a major role. The novels tend to be like a collage, and while it is common to know how the story starts, it is often the case that we don't know anything about the end. In essence they are against the conventional style of literature.

Some of the main members of this Spanish literary group include Agustín Fernández Mallo, Vicente Luis Mora, Jorge Carrión, Javier Calvo and Doménico Chiappe.

Other Styles of Contemporary Spanish Novels

  • Novela Negra - Often with a crime or detective theme have been particularly popular in the last few years. The main Spanish authors in this section include Eduardo Mendoza, Manuel Vázquez Montalbán and Arturo Pérez-Reverte.
  • Historic Novel - Extensive historical novels had been developing for many years and they continue to be written today by novelists like Eduardo Mendoza, Arturo Pérez-Reverte and Antonio Muñoz.
  • Culturist Novel - This trend started off with the writings of some of the contemporary Spanish poets. In novels it can be quite varied, they describe minute details and environments in a timeless fashion. Main writers in this style include Álvaro Pombo, Jesús Ferrero Álvaro del Amo and Javier Marías.
  • Intimate Novel - Although hard to define, it is clear that intimateness is a strong feature of all modern Spanish narratives, whether it appears directly or just metaphorically. These novels also have a certain lyricist quality in their literary form and expression. Some of the Spanish novelists in this section are Julio Llamazares, Adelaida García Morales and Ignacio Martínez de Pisón.
  • Experimental Novel - Experimentalism had taken a bit of a backwards step in the years before the contemporary Spanish literature period, however there are a number of young authors who are still cultivating the style, such as Jorge Márquez, Julián Ríos and Aliocha Coll.
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