In The Anatomy of a Moment, Cercas patiently dissects a key moment in European history and analyses the conditions that led to an attempted coup.
On 23 February 1981, just as Spain was finally leaving Franco’s dictatorship behind, Lieutenant-Colonel Tejero and a band of right-wing civil guards burst into the Spanish parliament during the investiture of the new prime minister and began shooting. Only three members of the Cortes defied the incursion and the orders of its leaders, and did not dive for cover: Adolfo Suárez, the outgoing prime minister and architect of the ‘transition’; Guttierez Mellado, a former Francoist general; and Santiago Carillo, the head of the recently legalised Communist Party. As the outcome hangs precariously in the balance, the reader relives the tension of those crucial hours and begins to discover that this was the final battle in a civil war that tore Spain apart forty years previously.
‘A brilliant reconfiguring of a key event in contemporary European history. Audacious and wholly fascinating’