The best books in Spanish for the last 25 years

This is one of the 210 lists we use to generate our main The Greatest Books list.

  • 2666 by Roberto Bolaño

    The novel is a sprawling, ambitious work that spans continents and time periods, centering around an elusive, reclusive German author. It intertwines five different narratives: a group of European academics searching for the author, a professor in Mexico dealing with his own personal crises, a New York reporter sent to cover a boxing match in Mexico, an African-American journalist in Detroit, and the horrifying and unsolved murders of hundreds of women in a Mexican border town. The narratives are linked by themes of violence, mystery, and the search for meaning in a chaotic world.

  • The Feast of the Goat: A Novel by Mario Vargas Llosa

    "The Feast of the Goat" is a historical novel set in the Dominican Republic during the rule of dictator Rafael Trujillo. It follows the story of Urania Cabral, a successful lawyer returning to her homeland after 30 years of self-imposed exile, and her struggle to confront the traumatic past that led to her departure. The narrative alternates between Urania's personal story and the brutal regime of Trujillo, providing a stark depiction of political tyranny and its effects on individual lives.

  • The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño

    "The Savage Detectives" is a novel that follows the lives of two Latin American poets, Arturo Belano and Ulises Lima, who are founders of a literary movement called "visceral realism." The book is divided into three parts and is narrated by multiple characters, providing different perspectives on the protagonists. The narrative spans over 20 years, following the poets' journey from Mexico City to Europe, Israel, and Africa, as they search for a mysterious poetess and navigate through the world of literature, sex, drugs, and the complexities of life.

  • Your Face Tomorrow: Fever and Spear by Javier Marías

    The novel explores the life of a Spanish expatriate in England who is recruited by a secretive organization due to his unique ability to interpret people's behavior. As he becomes entangled in a world of espionage, he grapples with moral and ethical dilemmas, questioning the validity of his work and the consequences of his actions. Through a blend of introspective musings and suspenseful narrative, the protagonist's life unravels, revealing a complex web of deceit, betrayal, and violence.

  • Your Face Tomorrow: Dance and dream by Javier Marías

    The book is the second in a trilogy, following the protagonist Jaime Deza, a Spaniard working for a covert British intelligence agency that specializes in analyzing people. The story delves into the world of deception, betrayal, and moral ambiguities of the spy world. Throughout the narrative, Deza is confronted with the complexities of interpreting people, the consequences of knowing too much, and the moral dilemmas that arise from his work.

  • Your Face Tomorrow: Poison, Shadow and Farewell by Javier Marías

    The novel follows the protagonist, a Spanish expatriate living in England, who is recruited by a secretive government agency due to his extraordinary ability to read people. As he becomes more deeply involved in the agency's clandestine activities, he is drawn into a world of betrayal, violence, and moral ambiguity, forcing him to confront uncomfortable truths about himself and the nature of power. The narrative unfolds in a non-linear fashion, weaving in elements of the protagonist's personal history and reflections on the nature of truth, memory, and interpretation.

  • Bartleby & Co by Enrique Vila-Matas

    "Bartleby & Co" is a metafictional work that explores the theme of "writers of the No," authors who cease to write or never start at all. The narrator, an office worker on sick leave, uses footnotes to a nonexistent text to delve into the stories of these authors, including famous real-life figures. The book serves as a meditation on silence, refusal, and the nature of literature itself.

About this list

El Pais, 7 Books

50 critics, writers and booksellers from both sides of the Atlantic choose the milestones of the last quarter century.

Added almost 7 years ago.

How Good is this List?

This list has a weight of 30%. To learn more about what this means please visit the Rankings page.

Here is a list of what is decreasing the importance of this list:

  • Limited to 25 or less years
  • Limited to a single language

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