Susana Fortes has won many awards, including the 1994 Premio Nuevos Narradores, the Premio Primavera, the Premio de la Critica, and, for WAITING FOR ROBERT CAPA, the Premio Fernando Lara 2009. Her novels have been translated into almost twenty languages. She currently teaches at a secondary school in Valencia and is a regular contributor to EL PAIS, as well as various cinema and literature magazines.
Arching between Paris before WWII and Spain in the midst of Civil War, Fortes's (The Albanian Affairs) latest historical traces the rocky romance between the (real-life) talented, striking Polish refugee and activist Gerta Pohorylle and fellow Jewish emigre Andre Friedmann, otherwise known as Robert Capa. Though illuminating in its depiction of the conflicting artistic, social, and political currents rocking the Old Continent in the '30s, the prose plods, with Fortes frequently resorting to name-dropping in lieu of narrative. Superficial descriptions of Paris cafes ("forums for heated debate" between usual suspects Hemingway, Picasso, Matisse, et al.) and the tendency for characters to enjoy "ferocious" lovemaking lend a tired, familiar feel. Gerta is "[r]esolute, firm, bold" and boasts "the reddest lips in all of Paris." And Capa "loved that skinny Jew." While Fortes pays a well-deserved homage to Gerta and the exceptional women of the era, including "[f]emale soldiers with black eyes and tawny leonine manes, a newspaper in one hand and a Mauser in the other," her flowery prose is plagued by Lopez's strained, overly literal translation. Nevertheless, Gerta and Andre receive their just due with this thorough, if not exactly palpitating, portrayal. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
'Waiting for Robert Capa moves artfully between fact and fiction, with a stunningly evoked backdrop of the Spanish Civil War. Susana Fortes is the real thing: a world-class novelist who brings all of her considerable talents to bear on this brief, affecting story." Jay Parini, author of The Last Station and The Passages of H.M. 'sweeping, beautiful imagery and keen human emotion. Fortes is an award-winning Spanish novelist and she manages to convey a passionate joy in her country whilst writing convincingly from an outsider,s point of view. Waiting For Robert Capa is smoothly translated...There,s a good deal of action but it,s also a novel about the power of ideas, and, ultimately, a grand historical romance., Emerald Street blog