Any book combines Spain, soccer, murder, and an affair with a prostitute is a book for me. Learning to Lose follows the lives of four characters living in Madrid – a sixteen year old girl, a professional soccer player, a middle aged man, and his elderly father. It’s a story of loss. A loss of love. A loss of self respect. A loss of self worth. But from each loss comes learning and acceptance that loss is part of live.
I read this book in a weekend and was sad to finish it. It’s the type of book I want to read over and over again, and pick up new subtleties each time. It’s as if the reader is the characters and can feel their pain and joy. A lovely translation and the characters’ stories are interwoven so well. Just a truly fabulous book.
--Allison, Events & Marketing
It is Sylvia’s sixteenth birthday, and her life as an adult is about to begin—not with the party she had been planning, but with a car accident and a broken leg. Behind the wheel is a talented young soccer player, just arrived from Buenos Aires and set for stardom on and off the field. As their destinies collide and a young romance is set in motion, across town, Sylvia’s father and grandfather are finding their own lives suddenly derailed by a violent murder and a secret affair with a prostitute. Set against the maze of Madrid’s congested and contested streets, Learning to Lose follows these four individuals as they swerve off course in unexpected directions. Each of them is dodging guilt and the fear of failure, but their shared search for happiness, love, purity, redemption, and, above all, a way to survive, forms a taut narrative web that binds the characters together. From one of Spain’s most celebrated contemporary writers, Learning to Lose is a lucid and gripping view into the complexities of lives overturned and into the capriciousness of modern life, with its intoxicating highs and devastating lows.
About the Author
David Trueba was born in Madrid in 1969 and has been successful both as a novelist and as a screenwriter. La buena vida was his widely acclaimed debut as a film director and was followed by Obra maestra, Soldados de Salamina, Bienvenido a casa, and La silla deFernando. He is the author of two previous novels, Cuatro amigos and Abierto toda la noche. Learning to Lose won the Critics Award in 2009 and marks Trueba’s English-language debut.
Mara Faye Lethem is the translator of Spanish and Catalan authors such as Albert Sánchez Piñol, Juan Marsé, Javier Calvo, Jorge Semprún, and Pablo DeSantis. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, she has lived in Barcelona since 2003.
Praise for Learning to Lose…
“…Trueba scores with his story about the need people have to connect to others, whether through sports, love or money.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer
“One part Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia, one part Paul Haggis' Crash, the rest is all David Trueba, modern day Madrid, and a narrative that pulsates with longing, lust and simmering rage. Don't dare pick it up if you have plans for the weekend, or for the rest of the day for that matter. It's that good. I was casting the adaptation in my mind as I tore through it. Vivid, real and raw, the novel is at once unsparing and entirely humane. Simply masterful.”—Joe McGinniss, Jr., author of The Delivery Man
“Learning to Lose is complex, powerful, surprising and most of all smart. David Trueba is the real thing. I had a lot of work on my desk and it is still on my desk. I have however read Mr. Trueba's novel. Enough said.”—Percival Everett, author of I Am Not Sidney Poitier