By Ray Loriga (translated by Carolina De Robertis)
The Alfaguara Novel Prize is the world’s highest-profile Spanish-language literary prize, and in 2017 it went to Ray Loriga’s Rendición, now translated into English as Surrender.
Surrender falls into the category of dystopic fable. In a war-torn country an unnamed man and his wife adopt a mute boy who wanders into their lives. The three of them are then evacuated to a transparent city made of crystal. The city is safe, but that safety comes at a price. There is no privacy, and the citizens have either willingly given in to a hive-like communal life or are drugged into submission. There’s certainly no place in the city for the man, who represents a throwback to rural masculinity that is lost in this unnatural new world. He knows his time has passed.
As with all such fables it’s a story that suggests various interpretations. One would be to see the city as the Internet, a virtual reality controlled by a hidden elite who might as well be gods for all we know of their mysterious ways. Meanwhile, any resistance is futile, as there is no alternative life we can return to outside the crystal dome.