From one of Spain’s most celebrated writers comes an extraordinary book that draws on the Sephardic diaspora, the Holocaust, and Stalin’s purges to tell a twentieth-century story. Shifting seamlessly from the past to the present and following the routes of escape across countries and continents, Antonio Muñoz Molina evokes people real and imagined who come together in a richly allusive pattern: from Eugenia Ginzburg to Grete Buber-Neumann, the one on a train to the gulag, the other heading toward a Nazi concentration camp; from a shoemaker and a nun who become lovers in a small Spanish town to Primo Levi bound for Auschwitz. From the well known to the virtually unknown all of Molina’s characters are voices of separation, nostalgia, love, and endless waiting.


“Moving and astonishing.” –
-Richard Eder, The New York Times

“A magnificent novel about the iniquity and horror of fanaticism, and especially the human being’s indestructible spirit.”
-Mario Vargas Llosa

“If Balzac wrote The Human Comedy, Muñoz Molina has written the adventure of exile, solitude, and memory.”
-Arturo Pérez-Reverte

“Shame and guilt, homelands and exile, ceaseless wanderings and bitter alienations both internal and external, metaphorical and real, are persistent motifs of Muñoz Molina’s remarkable novel–one that turns out to be about a territory far vaster than Sepharad itself: Europe, perhaps even the world . . . A masterpiece.”
-Daniel Mendelsohn, The New York Review of Books

“Muñoz Molina writes the novels of the people he’s met and imagined, gleaning from the names he encounters stories that vibrate beneath the burden of history, that lift with the breath of human life.”
Los Angeles Times Book Review