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Barga's new novel looks at Spain's "transition generation"
Date: Mar 22, 2010
A generation sunk in the disillusion and denial of Madrid in 1974 as the Franco regime crumbles: that is the background of the novel "Nuestra Amiga Comun" (Our Mutual Girlfriend), in which Luis Barga portrays "a generation and a part of history that does not appear written in the Spanish novel."

Miguel, Polo and Veronica are a trio of friends and lovers united by an interest in trafficking and using heroin. Their lives are meshed in a dangerous game that either ends in tragedy or with a pragmatic acceptance of reality.

"The historical moment is the decomposition of a regime, and that is important, since the novel's three leading characters are living at a time when the new has not yet arrived and the old is useless, and I'm not just talking about the political side when the Franco dictatorship was in its death throes, but about everyday life and the impossibility of getting on with new ways of life," Barga, who born in Madrid in 1958, said in an interview.

Veronica, a narcissistic actress with self-destructive tendencies, has playful love affairs with Miguel and Polo, two friends and partners in the drug business and Madrid night life, in a city scarcely evoked in the novel, since, as Barga said, at that time "it had little to offer, unlike Barcelona, a more European city and with much more life in every respect."

"To give an example, in 1974 Madrid had only four clubs where bohemians of the transition generation could go and to which the novel's three characters belong. The result was that much of the night life went on in houses, which, due to the low prices, were easy to rent," Barga said.

The drug is the novel's starring character.

"Heroin is the most effective and direct way to change one's life and feel powerful sensations, perfect for the decade of transition when the future was a promise of absolute freedom for whoever wanted to try new experiences," the writer said.

An unequal destiny awaits the fictional characters and, as for many members of that generation, some succumbed to drugs while others were able to adapt to a reality they did not like.

"It is easy to imagine their fate as similar to that of many young people during the transition - though disillusioned with the way the country was going, they betrayed their political ideals and accepted the new situation," Barga said.

With this first novel, published by Amargord, Luis Barga, a veteran Madrid journalist, fulfills his aim to "take a look at a generation and a part of history that does not appear written in the Spanish novel."