I started thinking about all the new books (70+) that I read this year, trying to figure out which one I enjoyed the most. My answer to this question surprised me: El corazon helado by the Spanish author Almudena Grandes. This book is 1248 pages long and could have easily been at least 200 pages shorter because it does get repetitive in places. Still, it's really good. Almudena Grandes first became popular when she wrote her pornographic bestseller The Ages of Lulu. Since then, the writer has been trying hard to prove that she can attract readers with anything other than graphic sex scenes.
Even though I have published scholarly articles on Almudena Grandes and used her work in my doctoral dissertation, I didn't really consider her to be a serious writer. Her magnum opus Corazon helado, El (Spanish Edition) (translated into English asThe Frozen Heart) finally managed to convince me that Almudena Grandes is worthy of attention as an actual artist. The novel is about the trauma of the Spanish Civil War as it is relived by the representatives of my generation. Even though this topic has been addressed by numerous writers, Almudena Grandes still managed to make her lengthy novel impossible to forget or confuse with any other.
I haven't read the English translation of this novel, so I don't know whether it's any good. It does exist, however, which is always a testimony to a novel's success.
Of course, unless you are really interested in the Spanish Civil War, I don't think I would necessarily recommend this novel to you. El corazon helado is also a beautiful love story, which, in my opinion, is an absolutely impossible genre to write in nowadays. Everybody who writes about love ends up being either vulgar or sappy. Almudena Grandes, for the most part, manages to avoid that. Seeing a good romantic story that is well-written and not all that cheesy might be a reason to read the book.
The reason why I'm writing about this book is that I'm truly surprised that it was the one I enjoyed the most out of the entire year of reading. There have been more important and better-written books, yet I still remember this one with the greatest fondness.
Which was the book you enjoyed the most in 2010? Please share your favorite in the comment section.