Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Books: "All This I Will Give To You"

All This I Will Give To You
By Dolores Redondo; translated by Michael Meigs
AmazonCrossing; 478 pages; hardcover, paperback, and e-book; available September 1

Literary thriller writer Dolores Redondo was the most-read author in Spain in 2017, surpassing Ken Follett, Fernando Aramburu and Carlos Ruiz Zafon, according to the Spanish Publishers Association.

Redondo's crime novel, Todo esto te dare, won the 2016 Planeta Prize, one of the country's top literary honors. It has sold more than 450,000 copies around the world, been translated into twenty languages, and has been optioned for feature film and television development.

For the first time, it will be released in English as All This I Will Give To You, translated by Michael Meigs.

Dolores Redondo.
Bestselling novelist Manuel Ortigosa is heart-stricken when he is informed by the police that his husband Alvaro has died in a car crash in a vineyard-laden region of northwest Spain. His pain intensifies when he discovers the trail of secrets that his long-time partner had kept from him for years. 
Manuel was led to believe that his husband had no family, but he learns that Alvaro was son and heir of the Muniz de Davilas, a wealthy noble family in Galicia. When Manuel arrives to identify the body, his suspicions rise as the family shuts him out, and the police abruptly close the investigation even though the facts do not add up. An unlikely friendship develops between Manuel and Nogueira, a retired policeman who is stubborn and questions the impunity of Alvaro's privileged family in the incident. 
Manuel and Nogueira join forces with Lucas, a childhood friend of Alvaro's who is now a priest, and together the reconstruct the mysterious life of a man whom they all thought they knew. The story unfolds elegantly, detail by detail, as they relentlessly pursue the truth and uncover shocking secrets about a family who thinks they are above reproach and the law.
Redondo artfully puts this story against the vibrant backdrop of Spain's Ribiera Sacra, which is famous for its vertical vineyards and the site of the most dangerous wine harvest in the world.
All This I Will Give You is a surprising, deep, and unforgettable story.

Dolores Redondo on why she wrote All This I Will Give To You:
The story I tell in All This I Will Give You had been lingering in my mind for ages, long before I wrote The Invisible Guardian, the first book in the Baztan Trilogy. This might happen to every writer out there: you constantly live between two passions, the book you're currently writing, and the next one, the one that knocks tirelessly until you open the door and welcome it in. Often you haven't even finished the previous novel, but still feel anxious to get to the next one. I guess that might have to do with one's own writing method: for those writers who have the whole story in their minds, the act of writing is secondary. It doesn't take as much energy as creating it in your mind does. So as soon as I finished the trilogy, I went to Riberia Sacra to immerse myself in the landscape of what would become All This I Will Give You.
Landscape is very important to me and always plays a huge part in my novels. I chose Ribeira Sacra because I fell in love with the place. My sister had been living there, and when I first visited her, I started to envision a book set there, with its dramatic countryside and tumultuous weather. In my novels, somehow landscape becomes a character unto itself, adding an extra layer to the whole story by enhancing how the characters respond to their surroundings.
Ribeira Sacra is special for many reasons. It's a very historical place, full of Romanic art. It's also very spiritual, which you can sense as soon as you arrive. There are also many castles, palaces, and mansions owned by the nobility. And the people of Ribeira Sacra are unique - they've been preserving a way of winemaking that dates back 2000 years, working their own land with incredible pride and often great sacrifice.
All This I Will Give You is a book with many facets. It's a crime novel, and I consider it my personal homage to Agatha Christie and Mario Puzo's The Godfather. It's also about a toxic family and the power the nobility and the Catholic church still have in 21st century Spain. It's about the secrets we keep, that you don't know everything about anyone, not even the person who has been your spouse for many years. And it's about prejudice, which I explored in different ways. My protagonist Manuel is judged for being gay, for being married, and for being a snobbish writer who seems out of touch with reality. Yet he has his own prejudices against his husband Alvaro's rich family.
And finally, at the heart of the book is the unexpected friendship of the three men - a gay writer, a priest and a retired policeman - that develops against the backdrop of greed, power and prejudice. It's easy to judge too quickly, but often we discover that we have much more in common than what sets us apart. 
All This I Will Give You addresses some dark and disturbing issues, but I hope that readers will take away a message of optimism and hope, and also see it as a story that celebrates love, loyalty, and friendship.

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