Spanish author Jose Ovejero has been awarded the 2013 Alfaguara Novel Prize, consisting of 175,000 dollars and a statue by Martin Chirino for his work La invencion del amor, submitted under the title Triangulo imperfecto and the penname Doppelganger.
The jury, presided by Manuel Rivas and composed of Annie Morvan, Jose Maria Pozuelo Yvancos, Jordi Punti, Xavier Velasco, Antonio Ramirez, and Pilar Reyes (not a voting member), selected the winner by majority vote.
La invencion del amor tells the story of forty-year old Samuel, a man of long-lasting friendships who co-owns a construction supplies business, and who has chained bed partners. From his terrace, Samuel looks over Madrid's daily bustle. One day someone calls to tell him Clara has died and hangs up. What's strangest is that Samuel does not recall ever knowing anyone by that name. This minor detail, however, doesn't stop him from making this unknown woman the center of his life. Samuel discovers he's been mistaken for the dead woman's secret lover, and contacts Clara's attractive sister, Carina, with whom he begins sharing confidences. Using Carina's guilt over her sister's death as leverage, Samuel starts inventing a life with Clara. And with his company about to go bankrupt, Samuel starts sharing this imagined life with his mother, who suffers from senile dementia. Oddly, soon enough, Clara's name is the only one the elderly lady will remember. And as Samuel becomes more attached to the memory of Clara and more attracted to Carina, he is caught in an age-old conundrum: how do you tell the person you love the truth.
In this novel of single people and of a crisis that grows and branches out, the main character talks directly to the reader about loneliness, love, and the ability to reinvent and deceive oneself. With classic thriller elements, this romantic street tale paints the portrait of a generation, with the city of Madrid as its backdrop.
Jose Ovejero (Madrid, 1958) lives in Madrid and Brussels, where he unites his passion for literature with journalistic collaborations. Since winning the Ciudad de Irun Poetry Prize in 1993 with Biografia del explorador, Ovejero has cultivated every literary genre. His work, China para hipocondriacos, winner of the Premio Grandes Viajeros in 1998, as well as Las vidas ajenas, winner of the Premio Primavera in 2005, are particularly noteworthy. The author has continued his work in the genre of narrative with the novels Anoranza del heroe, Huir de Palermo, Un mal ano para Miki, Nunca pasa nada (Alfaguara, 2007), and La comedia salvaje (Alfaguara, 2009)this last winning the Premio Ramon Gomez de la Serna in 2010, the short stories Cuentos para salvarnos a todos, Que raros son los hombres, and Mujeres que viajan solas, and essays such as Escritores delincuentes (Alfaguara, 2011), and La etica de la crueldad (Anagrama Essay Prize winner in 2012).