Edad prohibida, by Torcuato Luca de Tena

10788283English translation: Forbidden age

Published in 1955, this is a coming-of-age story setted in Spain during and after the Civil War. Anastasio’s father was killed during the war, so his mother sent him to live with his aunt and uncle in San Sebastián. There, at the beach, he meets Enrique and his friends. Enrique is everything that Anastasio isn’t: extroverted and overbold, so Anastasio feels lured to him as a moth to the light. He eventually finds his way into the gang and, unexpectedly and unwillingly he turned into Enrique’s rival in the crusade for Celia’s affection.

The book comes and goes from “the past”, these episodes from the adolescent and youth times, to “the present” in which we find Enrique in jail (not a spoiler, here is where the book begins) for reasons unknown to us, and Anastasio taking the direction of this prison. Enrique is reluctant to meet Anastasio again, so, along the book, we learn what happened to them and how they arrived to this present situation.

I loved this book, it’s such a beautiful reading, and a great example of its genre, all these episodes of growing up, and how what we do and the decisions we make in our youth still have reminiscences and consequences in our adult life. I’m not sure if this book was ever translated into other language, but, if not, could be a great excuse to learn Spanish and READ IT.