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the Complete Review
the complete review - non-fiction


The Anatomy of a Moment

Javier Cercas

[an overview of the reviews and critical reactions]

general information | review summaries | links | about the author

To purchase The Anatomy of a Moment

Title: The Anatomy of a Moment
Author: Javier Cercas
Genre: Non-fiction
Written: 2009 (Eng. 2011)
Length: 383 pages
Original in: Spanish
Availability: The Anatomy of a Moment - US
Anatomía de un instante - US
The Anatomy of a Moment - UK
The Anatomy of a Moment - Canada
The Anatomy of a Moment - India
Anatomie d'un instant - France
Anatomie eines Augenblicks - Deutschland
Anatomia di un istante - Italia
Anatomía de un instante - España
  • Thirty-five Minutes in History and Imagination
  • Spanish title: Anatomía de un instante
  • Translated by Anne McLean

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Why we haven't reviewed it yet:

Only had a library copy to work with and this detailed look at Spanish history deserves/needs a closer/longer look

Chances that we will review it:


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Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
The Economist A+ 24/3/2011 .
Le Figaro . 2/9/2010 Christian Authier
Financial Times . 28/2/2011 Ángel Gurría Quintan
FAZ A 11/2/2011 Paul Ingendaay
The Independent . 4/2/2011 Michael Eaude
Le Monde . 29/10/2010 Robert Solé
NZZ . 23/2/2011 Jeannette Villachica
The New Yorker . 4/4/2011 .
El País . 11/4/2009 Jordi Gracia
The Telegraph A 6/2/2011 Anne Chisholm
The Telegraph . 10/3/2011 Anthony Cummins
Die Zeit . 16/3/2011 Louisa Reichstetter

  Review Consensus:

  Generally very, very impressed, and think it's an important documentation of recent Spanish history

  From the Reviews:
  • "Mr Cercas has written a persuasive, brilliant and absorbing book that has more contemporary resonance than even he might have imagined." - The Economist

  • "Anatomie d'un instant avance réponses et hypothèses, brasse avec brio destinées individuelles et collectives en balayant quelques idées reçues." - Christian Authier, Le Figaro

  • "Cercasí thorough examination of events -- richly imagined, suspenseful and surprisingly poignant -- is a reminder of how Spanish history might have taken a dramatically different turn that evening 30 years ago." - Ángel Gurría Quintan, Financial Times

  • "Man muss kein Spezialist in der von Verschwörungstheorien umrankten Literatur zu diesem Putsch sein, um die Originalität von Cercas' Verfahren zu erkennen. Denn hier wird der historische Augenblick jeweils zusammen mit Vorgeschichte, Lebensgeschichte und politischer Mentalitätsgeschichte beleuchtet, hier stehen Personen in einem Kontext, den sie formen und von dem sie geformt werden. (...) Anatomie eines Augenblicks ist ein freies Buch, das keiner Theorie folgt, nichts behaupten oder beweisen will. Gerade in der Ruhe und Absichtslosigkeit der Reflexionen kommt es viel weiter, als es starre Geschichtslektionen könnten." - Paul Ingendaay, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

  • "Unlike the shimmering, lucid prose of Cercas's two great novels, here he has adopted certain mannerisms and stylistic infelicities. The twisting sentences over-use colons and semi-colons. His skilful translator Anne McLean is sometimes drawn into following too closely the Spanish in these long sentences studded with multiple sub-clauses. Cercas is attempting to be precise and express every nuance with this style; but it is tiresome that sometimes one has to read back to grasp the meaning. Cercas is a major novelist who has written a fascinating account of a key event in Spain's recent history." - Michael Eaude, The Independent

  • "Javier Cercas hat sich in einen Kampf mit der jüngsten Vergangenheit seines Landes gestürzt. Er hat es auch für die Spanier seiner Generation getan, keine Mühe gescheut, weder Zweifel noch Verwirrung verheimlicht. Seine Landsleute haben es ihm gedankt. Ob sich die Leser im deutschsprachigen Raum genauso in diesen inhaltlich ausufernden, sprachlich überwiegend trockenen Monolog einfühlen können, ist jedoch fraglich." - Jeannette Villachica, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

  • "Nada de eso: este libro está febrilmente armado y construido precisamente para que nada quede en manos del novelista caprichoso que ha de dar sentido a lo que no lo tiene y ha de buscar secretas ataduras que pasteuricen la viscosidad de lo real en la historia. Sin ser una novela, es una lección magistral sobre lo que es y puede ser la novela en las letras internacionales del siglo XXI y es además, pero secundariamente, la versión que el siglo XXI va a interiorizar y normalizar del golpe de Estado del 23-F en España." - Jordi Gracia, El País

  • "With this book, then, Cercas is not only writing a scrupulous, truthful account of the failed coup, he is helping to bring the tormented story of the Spanish Civil War to its conclusion at last. His subtle intelligence, narrative gifts and intellectual honesty are outstanding." - Anne Chisholm, The Telegraph

  • "The rewards of this book do not come for free. While Cercasís prose (in Anne McLeanís English) isnít difficult in any conventional sense -- you donít have to fathom his meaning -- its rigour and intensity are taxing. I reckon the longest sentence is about half as long as this review, and it has a lot of competition. Brackets and semi-colons seem to outnumber full stops. But Cercas is trying to find a way of writing that avoids jumping to conclusions as he seeks to undo the knots of motive and consequence in the skulduggery he describes. His syntax -- unlikely as it might sound -- proves to be the basis of the generosity and insight with which he surveys this fevered period of Spanish history." - Anthony Cummins, The Telegraph

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The Anatomy of a Moment: Reviews: Other books by Javier Cercas under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Spanish author Javier Cercas was born in 1962.

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© 2011-2016 the complete review

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