Souto Menaya, “Boots”, is a soccer player who once knew glory and has now come to know hell. After a historic goal during the final of the Copa del Rey in 1944, his career came to an abrupt end due to an injury that left him with a limp and handicapped. He went from being a construction worker to a professional soccer player that jumped from the local teams to his dream team, the Athletic de Bilbao, but he now needs a sit-down job and ends up accepting one stuffing collectible picture cards into envelopes. This will mean, in a twist of dark humor, having to find his own picture within the collections of soccer cards. Since his change of luck, Souto knows that the best years of his life are behind him, that he must give up his girlfriend Irune, and that he will not be able to retire his parents as he had wished. He does not even get any comfort from those unforgettable years of childhood, when his father took him by the hand to see the Athletic while he used to laugh and cry. Just then, a journalist comes knocking on his door and makes him a tempting offer that can mean a possible solution for his own future and his family’s.
Ramiro Pinilla was born in Bilbao in 1923. He won the Nadal Prize in 1960 and the National Prize of the Critics in 1961 with the novel Las ciegas hormigas (The Blind Ants), and was a finalist to the Planeta Prize in 1971 with Seno (Breast). For almost three decades he voluntarily distanced himself from the publishing industry. During that time, Pinilla published his own works, such as En el tiempo de los tallos verdes (In the Age of Green Stems, 1969), Recuerda, oh recuerda (Remember, Oh Remember, 1974), Primeras historias de la Guerra interminable (The First Stories of the Never-ending War, 1977), La gran guerra de Doña Toda (The Great War of Mrs. Toda, 1978), Andanzas de Txiqui Baskardo (The Adventures of Txiqui Baskardo, 1980), Quince años (Fifteen Years, 1990), and Huesos (Bones, 1997). Pinilla returned to the publishing circuit with Verdes valles, Colinas rojas (Green Vallies, Red Hills), a trilogy made up of the novels La tierra convulsa (The Earth Trembles), Los cuerpos desnudos (Naked Bodies), and Las cenizas del hierro (Iron Ashes) that won the Euskadi Prize 2005, the National Critics Prize, and the National Prize for Narrative in 2006. That same year, Pinilla published La higuera (The Fig Tree), a novel about the Civil War, humiliation, and forgiveness that is currently being translated into several languages.