Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Learning to Lose by David Trueba

Paperback: 592 pages
Publisher: Other Press (June 22, 2010)

BOOK SUMMARY: It is Sylvia’s sixteenth birthday, and her life as an adult is about to begin—not with the party she had been planning, but with a car accident and a broken leg. Behind the wheel is a talented young soccer player, just arrived from Buenos Aires and set for stardom on and off the field. As their destinies collide and a young romance is set in motion, across town, Sylvia’s father and grandfather are finding their own lives suddenly derailed by a violent murder and a secret affair with a prostitute. 

Set against the maze of Madrid’s congested and contested streets, Learning to Lose follows these four individuals as they swerve off course in unexpected directions. Each of them is dodging guilt and the fear of failure, but their shared search for happiness, love, purity, redemption, and, above all, a way to survive, forms a taut narrative web that binds the characters together. 

MY REVIEW: Four people. Four different lives. Four different sets of circumstances. All are connected by one main thing: their downfalls. In Learning to Lose, author David Trueba shares with us the intricate lives of four individuals: Sylvia, 16; her father, Loranzo; his father, Leandro; and Ariel, 20, a pro soccer player. With realistic touches we learn of their weaknesses and problems and watch them make bad decisions. True to life, none of them are perfect and the richness of this story is how they treat their downfalls and deal with their losses. 

Sylvia gets hit by Ariel's car. Guilt stricken, he seeks her out and they begin a love affair. With her young age and his immigration to her country, Argentina, from his homeland of Spain, he cannot risk his professional soccer career if word got out about his transgressions. Meanwhile, Sylvia's grandfather is not handling the declining health of his wife, Aurora, well and he seeks out the company of a prostitute. Lorenzo, his son and Sylvia's dad, is facing financial ruin and has killed his business partner. This novel could have easily become soap opera-ish, but with Trueba's handling, this nearly 600 page novel becomes an ode to life and survival. My one problem with this novel was the lack of emotions conveyed by the characters, but I believe during the translation from Spanish to English some of it was lost.

RATING: ++++

Cover comment: It's okay, slightly on the boring side.

BOOK SOURCE: Crazy Book Tours

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this recommendation.
    I decied I'm going to read it :) you tempted me here =)
    Because... I used to live with my family, we were a lot.. and now I moved alone, an in this little apartments for rent in Buenos Aires is everything sooo quite
    I need a book =)