El chico de las bobinas / The Boy with the Film Reels
Barcelona, 1945. Nil Roig is a young boy who spends the days on his bicycle, carrying old film reels from one cinema to another and dreaming that one day he will be a projectionist in one of those movie theatres. On the day of his thirteenth birthday he is a witness of a crime committed in the staircase of his house. While the murderer escapes after having threatened him with death if he does not keep his mouth shut, the dying man gives him a mysterious picture card of a film actor from the pre-war times. The object searched for and desired by the low-keyed figures of an ex Gestapo commander and a Francoist police officer. The fact that the man while giving the card to Nil, whispers the name of David, the boy’s father, who disappeared on the day when the city was taken over by the victorious army will prompt him to uncover a mystery of the past for which he will pay a high price.
In the Barcelona of light and shade, El chico de las bobinas tells us of the unparalleled strength of the women, victims of the war, who showed the world how to survive, of the local movie theatres where people could dream in the years of lead and which were a refuge and of ruined childhoods and genuine sorrows, with the plot set in the determined – but also very universal time.
With the well-documented historical background, recreating meticulously the Barcelona of the moment, El chico de las bobinas is a novel charged with emotion and mystery and one that in the direct and clear language depicts the fragility and the ambiguity of the human nature. Far beyond the suffering for what was lost and the struggle dedicated uniquely to staying alive, El chico de las bobinas is an homage to the mother figure and to the eternal magic of the cinema.
A historical novel that leans as much towards the noir as to the spy novel.
A homage to the cinema, the shelter of the post-war time.
This is one of the novels which will be much talked about this year.
A magnificent homage to a vanished era of the cinema.
“El chico de las bobinas” is also a homage to all those women who, in spite of adversities, fought to rebuild a broken society.
Die Lichter von Barcelona - Germany
Publisher: Limes (Verlagsgruppe Penguin Random House)
Date of publication: July 2022