RED DOLL by Juan Luis Cebrian


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A one-time radical, now a middle-aged member of the establishment in post. Franco Spain, falls for a glamorous young leftist and fatally botches negotiations with Basque separatists. Ennui and disillusionment pervade this moody thriller about Juan Altamira, a sleek and well-fed presidential adviser who dumps his wife of many years for Begona Aizpuru, a beautiful young woman he meets at a terribly boring international conference. Begona, whom Juan calls Baltushka, seems to be equally smitten, and they spend lots of time relieving each other's ennui and disillusionment. But things get messy when Juan's boss calls him in and shows him pictures of himself and Begona in every conceivable position. Who took the pictures? Juan's boss won't say. What his boss will say is that the lovely Baltushka seems to be nearly as chummy with the KGB as she is with Juan. After this word to the wise, E1 Boss sends Juan off to negotiate with Basque terrorists who may or may not be offering a respite from the terrorism that has made shopping in Madrid so difficult. While Juan enters the shadowy world of Basque politics, Baltushka disappears. When Juan learns that his love is in Cuba, he has to wonder if she might not have been the person who blabbed about the Basque business, an act that resulted in a public murder. Weighed down as they are by world weariness, the terror and thrills don't stand a chance here.

Pub Date: Nov. 23rd, 1987
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson