This book gathers the two volumes of short stories by Ramiro Pinilla, Recuerda, oh, recuerda (Remember, Oh, Remember, 1975) and Primeras historias de la guerra interminable (The First Stories of an Unending War, 1977). They contain the most luminous pages written by the author, and some of the stories have been selected for anthologies of the best short stories in 20th century Spanish literature. As in founding legends, the first stories begin in a primitive world (treated with plenty of irony) where the native tribes, the Baskardos, name themselves after the sound of the waves crashing against the cliffs, and they resist progress and technical innovation. Their heirs are the main characters of other stories, where they deal with beached whales and discover beautiful women who resemble mermaids. They also bear witness to other milestones in the history of their people, such as the irruption of an army of llamas brought all the way from America, whose herd leader is hunted down as a symbol of liberty. Everything comes to a standstill in the second part, where the scenes from the “unending war” condemn the characters to repression and pain. Both in the mythical and in the realist tone, the two books display some of the narrative knots of the brilliant trilogy Verdes valles, colinas rojas, and they discover a personal universe, inexhaustible and self-sufficient: a Getxo which manages to condense the history of an entire country.
Ramiro Pinilla was born in Bilbao in 1923. After winning the Nadal Prize and the Critics Prize in 1961 with his first novel, and after being a finalist of the Planeta Prize in 1971, he decided to stay away from commercial circuits for over thirty years. In 2004, the publication of the exceptional trilogy Verdes valles, colinas rojas (Green Vallies, Red Hills) won him the Euskadi Prize 2005, the National Critics Prize and the National Prize for Narrative in 2006. After that, Pinilla reaffirmed his prestige with two new novels: La higuera (The Fig Tree, 2006), a novel that offers a view of the Spanish Civil War and that has achieved success abroad, and Sólo un muerto más (Just Another Corpse, 2009), a Cervantesque homage to noir fiction and popular novels.
Praise for Las ciegas hormigas:
“One of the best Spanish novels of the last fifty years.” Rafael Chirbes, Livres Hebdo
“We have finally been able to recover (…) this first novel by Pinilla, awarded the Nadal Prize in 1960. And what a lesson it is for the current market!” ABC
“Fifty years later, Las ciegas hormigas deserves the label of a 20th century classic. Pinilla is one of the best established figures in contemporary Spanish narrative.” La Vanguardia
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.