2 Patterns within Chaos 47
47 Chapter Two: Patterns within Chaos The intention of this chapter is to present initial evidence to support the over-all argument that Spanish fiction in the first decade of the twenty-first century has seen something of a shift in focus, influenced in no small part by the popularisation of elements of chaos theory.1 Where before the emphasis was on failure, powerlessness, confusion and despair, novels of the last few years have offered a different vision whereby the reader, in parallel with the characters portrayed, experiences a greater sense of satisfaction when finishing the story told. No longer is the feeling at the end of a novel one of frustration, disappointment, irritation, even, but, rather, a sense of having travelled well on a journey, accompanied by others within the fictional story who, for all their flaws, have been equal to the task at hand. To examine this phenomenon, the text chosen is the well-known war story, Soldados de Salamina (Soldiers of Salamis) by Javier Cercas, first published in 2001. Since then, it has won at least ten literary prizes and translation rights have been sold in twenty-two countries;2 its status as a popular story seems secure, not just in Spain but at least throughout Europe as well. Likewise, Javier Cercas’s status as a storyteller is evident, being equally well known for other stories he 1 A version of this chapter was presented at the conference: Historical Crossroads. Spain from the 2nd Republic to the 21st Century/Encrucijadas Históricas. España...
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