It's the late 60s, the last dark years of Franco's dictatorship. Minaya, a university student in Madrid, is caught up in the student protests, and the police are after him. He moves to his uncle Manuel's country estate in the small town of Mgina to write his thesis on an old friend of Manuel's, an obscure republican poet named Jacinto Solana.
The country house is full of traces of the poet's notes, photographs, journals - and Minaya soon discovers that, 30 years earlier, during the Spanish Civil War, both his uncle and Solana were in love with the same woman, the beautiful, unsettling Mariana. Engaged to Manuel, she was shot in the attic of the house on her wedding night. With the aid of Ins, a maid, Minaya begins to search for Solana's lost masterpiece, a novel called Beatus Ille. Looking for a book, he unravels a crime.
"Already a contemporary classic, this work...is an enigmatic gem in the very best metafiction tradition." (Library Journal)
"This is a brilliant novel by an important writer unafraid of ideas, emotions and genuine beauty. 'A Manuscript of Ashes could be pleasurably read out of appreciation for any one of those qualities - or, perhaps, for the intricately plotted mystery that bears the novel's characters along like travelers on a dark, treacherous river." (Los Angeles Times)
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