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The Impostor

On sale

2nd November 2017

Price: £20

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Selected: Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9780857056504

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But who is Enric Marco? A veteran of the Spanish Civil War, a fighter against fascism, an impassioned campaigner for justice, and a survivor of the Nazi death camps? Or, is he simply an old man with delusions of grandeur, a charlatan who fabricated his heroic war record, who was never a prisoner in the Third Reich and never opposed Franco; a charming, beguiling and compulsive liar who refashioned himself as a defender of liberty and who was unmasked in 2005 at the height of his influence and renown?

In this extraordinary novel – part narrative, part history, part essay, part biography, part autobiography – Javier Cercas unravels the enigma of the man and delves with passion and honesty into the most ambiguous aspects of what makes us human – our infinite capacity for self-deception, our need for conformity, our thirst for affection and our conflicting needs for fiction and for truth.

Translated from the Spanish by Frank Wynne


J M Pouzel Yvancos, ABC.
Without doubt, his best novel.
José-Carlo Mainer, El País.
Swift and captivating prose, yet calibrated to the millimetre and?as obsessively rhythmical as ravel's Bolero.
David Mills, Sunday Times
The Impostor is a humane, artistically responsible and civilised book, one that you finish feeling heartened that such a serious-minded writer as Cercas is at work.
No Spanish writer has probed the unhealed wounds of the country's history with more subtlety and rigour than Mr Cercas
Daniel Hahn, Spectator
Besides being a piece of nifty journalistic detective work, Cercas' book is an insightful psychological study . . . Both convincing and compelling
Sunday Times "Must Reads"
Truth and fiction blend in an outstanding novel about a Holocaust impostor
Mika Provata-Carlone, Bookanista
A very rich text, a true textile of interlinked threads of thought, of history and of stories . . . The Impostor is fiction dealing with the value of history; and it is a history about the vital value of fiction as a guarantor of reality
Michael Eaude, Literary Review
Javier Cercas is one of Europe's most serious and attractive writers . . . Cercas is not content with the easy story, in this case the unmasking of a false hero. He boldly searches for the hidden truths of his elusive subject and his times.
Siobhan Murphy, The Times
A fascinating, highly charged, scalpel-sharp dissection.
Allan Massie, Scotsman
Masterly . . . Cercas probes this mysterious and extraordinary life with uncommon patience, uncommon skill and uncommon sympathy.
Big Issue
Cercas as added another literary page-turner to his unique oeuvre. He is a master at combining historical truth and fictional viewpoint.
Catholic Herald Books of the Year.
A fascinating book, very much of our time in this era of fake news and what is called 'historical memories'.
Christopher Tayler, London Review of Books
[Cercas] goes about telling Marco's story with great skill, some impressive detective work and an irony that's sometimes amused and sometimes appalled
Publishers Weekly
[A] mesmerizing biography of a fraud . . . This rigorous work shines a light not only on the methods of the deceiver but the willingness of the deceived to accept such falsehoods
Parul Seghal, New York Times
[The Impostor] vibrates with an insomniac energy . . . it has the hot, charged energy of sitting through a trial . . . The language is precise, distinctive and delicious.
David Mills, The Times
One of the most accomplished books I've ever read