Like many books the title of the novel has more than one meaning and is of central significance to the story. That is what intrigued me here.
Manuel Ortigsa is a writer, living in Spain with his husband of fifteen years. When the news come that Alvaro has been killed in a car crash – not in Barcelona where he said he was going, but in Galicia. Manuel travels there immediately.
What he learns shocks him. Alvaro was not the man Manuel thought he knew. And like the skin of an onion, more and more layers of deception keep peeling away. Alvaro was leading a double life.
I enjoyed this book a lot. There is such a web or corruption not only in Alvaro’s aristocratic family, but in the Catholic school he attended, in his relationship with his father, and even worse – with his mother. The prose is exquisite and I learned a lot about Spain, its nobility, its wine industry. And I found myself trying to write the ending when I was involved in other tasks.
It has been described as a thriller but I would disagree. I found it a gentle and moving read. I connected completely with Manuel and felt his distress. Detective Nogueira, with all his flaw, was a realist about himself, his choices, his family. Ultimately he was very compassionate.
I have been waiting to read a really good book for some time, and this was it.
Offering to the Stone
The Legacy of Bones
A specialist in wine making is called an enologist.