Toni Sala — The Boys
Long known as one of Spain’s most powerful Catalan authors, Toni Sala is at his mischievous best in The Boys, delivering a sinister, fast-moving tale laced with intricate meditations on everything from Internet hookups to Spain’s economic collapse to the incomprehensibility of death. Sala offers us a startlingly honest vision of how alone we are in an age of unparalleled connectivity. In the once-bucolic village of Vidreres, already decimated by a harsh recession, two young men have just died in a horrible car crash. As the town attends the funeral, a banker named Ernest heads to the tree where the boys died to try and make sense of what happened. There he meets a brutish trucker who has taken a liking to Iona, the fiancée of one of the dead boys. But Iona is already, only the day after the accident, being pursued by a failed, perhaps psychotic, artist. These four characters, their lives and voices intertwined, grapple with their own guilt over the unfathomable loss of the boys, and perhaps their whole town. A powerful Catalan author gives us a penetrating story of meaningless deaths and personal isolation, set in the heart of one of Spain’s most beautiful, vibrant places.