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Eduardo Mendoza Garriga (Barcelona, January 11, 1943) is a Spanish writer whose narrative style is simple and direct, without abandoning the use of cultism, archaisms and popular language. in its purest expression. Like marginal characters who look at society with strangeness as they struggle to survive by staying out of it.
His literary work, which he inaugurated with the publication of La verdad sobre el caso Savolta (1975), is usually set in his native Barcelona, combining the description of the city in times before the Spanish Civil War and nowadays Llàtzer Moix speaks of “bifronte reality” when referring to the narrative of Mendoza and establishes a distinction between his serious or major novels, and his divertimentos or minor novels.
Although his main literary genre is the novel, Mendoza has written throughout his professional career essays like Baroja, the contradiction, and more recently stories like Three Lives of Saints. He received the Planeta prize in 2010 for his novel Rina de Catas. Madrid 1936 and in 2016 the Cervantes Prize.
1975-1990: First works
Son of a prosecutor, Eduardo Mendoza Arias-Carvajal, and a housewife, Cristina Garriga Alemany, studied a year in a school of the nuns of Our Lady of Loreto, another in one of the Mercedarias and, finally, a Starting in 1950, at the school of the Marist Brothers. After graduating with a degree in Law from the Autonomous University of Barcelona in 1965, he traveled to Europe and the following year got a scholarship in London to study Sociology, and on his return in 1967 he worked as a lawyer in the Legal Counsel of the Condal Bank, 1973 to go to New York as a translator of the UN.
While in the United States, he published his first novel The truth about the Savolta case in 1975. Its original title was the soldiers of Catalonia, but it was forced to change it due to problems with the pro-Franco censorship. This opera prima, in which you can see the capacity of Mendoza in the use of different speeches and narrative styles, launches him to fame. Considered by many as the forerunner of the change that would give Spanish society and as the first novel of the democratic transition, the novel narrates the panorama of union struggles of the early twentieth century, showing the social, cultural and economic reality of the Barcelona The time. Just a few months after its publication Francisco Franco dies and the following year The truth about the Savolta case receives the Critics’ Award.
The mystery of the haunted crypt, a parody with hilarious moments that mixes features of the black novel with the Gothic, was published in 1979 and marks the beginning of one starring a peculiar character, a kind of detective locked in an asylum , of unknown name. The labyrinth of olives, 1982, the second novel starring the nameless detective, consolidates him as one of the most successful authors of sales. The saga starring this character continued in 2001 with a third volume, The adventure of the ladies’ dresser and The tangle of the bag and life, fourth volume published in 2012.
In 1983, Mendoza returns to Barcelona but still earns his living doing simultaneous translation in international organizations in Geneva, Vienna and other cities. In 1986 he published La ciudad de los prodigios, a novel in which the social and urban evolution of Barcelona between the two universal exhibitions of 1888 and 1929 is shown. The city of the prodigies is considered by literary criticism as his masterpiece and was chosen by the French magazine Lire as the best book of 1988. In 1999 it was adapted to the cinema by Mario Camus and starring Emma Suárez and Olivier Martínez.
His next work, La isla inaudita, was published in 1989 and jumps the usual narrative in the novels of Mendoza, using the city of Venice as the main scenario. A year later, he begins to publish in the newspaper El País a story about deliveries of an extraterrestrial that lands in Barcelona prior to the 1992 Olympic Games. The story was published the following year by Seix Barral under the title of No news of Gurb . Also in 1991 he made his first foray into the theater with the inauguration of the work in Catalan Restauraciò at the Romea Theater in Barcelona. His adaptation to Spanish was represented a year later in Madrid.
1992-present: Consolidation in the Spanish narrative
In 1992 he published The Year of the Flood, set in a Catalan town governed by a Francoist cacique and starring the nun Constance Briones. The novel won the third edition of the Literary Prize of Elle magazine in 1993. Two years later it began to teach at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. Combining his work as a teacher and his literary work, he published a light comedy in 1996, set in the Spanish post-war Barcelona. The novel won the Best Foreign Book Award, awarded in France in 1998.
The adventure of the ladies’ room, its first novel in the new century, was published in January 2001 and is the third volume of the adventures of the anonymous detective, expelled from the insane asylum where he lived and converted to a hairdresser. The book was awarded the prize for booksellers in Madrid with the Best Book Award in 2002. In August of the same year it repeated the formula of No news of Gurb, publishing in installments in Spain The last passage of Horacio Dos, a sarcastic fable a Personal diary mode that picks up a trip in space. In November he published with the publisher Omega Baroja, the contradiction, a biographical essay about the figure of the writer Pío Baroja.
In 2003 he published Barcelona Modernista, an essay on the city of Barcelona in a period between the Universal Exhibition of 1888 and the First World War. In addition, he contributed as a screenwriter to the film adaptation of his own work El año del diluvio, directed by Jaime Chávarri.
In 2006, the publisher Seix Barral published Mundo Mendoza, a biography by Llatzer Moix, and Mauricio or the primaries, a non-parodic novel by Mendoza set in Barcelona that tells a love story in three bands with a political background after the Spanish Transition, between the elections of 1984 and the designation of Barcelona as the Olympic venue. The work obtained the VI Prize of Novel Foundation José Manuel Lara Hernández.
Two years later Gloria, her second play in Catalan, later adapted to Spanish, and published The Amazing Journey of Pomponio Flato, a parody of the epistolary genre that narrates the adventures of Pomponio Flato, a Roman philosopher, in lands of Nazareth, where he is hired by the child Jesus to save his father Joseph from the death penalty. The novel, a mixture of detective genre and crime novel, narrates events in the life of Jesus without historical rigor as a parody of intriguing novels such as Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code In 2009 he published Three Lives of Saints, a book formed by three stories that supposes his first foray into the literary genre.
On October 16, 2010, the writer Eduardo Mendoza, hidden behind the pseudonym Ricardo Medina, won the 59th edition of the Planet Planet Award, endowed with 601 000 euros, with the play Riña de gatos. Madrid 1936. The starting point of the winning novel is the arrival in Spain in the spring of 1936 of a young Englishman, specialist in Spanish painting, claimed to assess a possible unknown painting by Velázquez.
With the entanglement of the bag and life, published on April 10, 2012, Mendoza returns to give life to the anonymous detective protagonist of The mystery of the haunted crypt, The labyrinth of olives and The adventure of the ladies’ dresser in a satire set in today’s Barcelona.
In 2015 the secret of the lost model is published, the fifth novel of the detective series, set again in his native Barcelona.
On November 30, 2016, the Cervantes Prize was awarded, because, according to the jury, “he has a literary language full of subtleties and irony.”
On April 20, 2017, he presents his new book The Beards of the Prophet, in which the author reviews some episodes of the Bible.
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