One of my positive experiences with original books in Spanish is connected with the name of José Luis Sampedro and his novel La sonrisa etrusca, first published in 1985.
It is a story about an old man from a little mountain village in the southern part of Italy who, due to some serious health problems, comes to Milan in order to undergo a medical examination and starts to live with his son, his daughter-in-law and his infant grandson. He hates Milan with all its mannerism and pretentiousness from the very beginning, but at the same time the city brings to him something wonderful and unexpected which brightens up the last days of his life and makes him feel needed and loved.
The novel depicts the relationships that the old man establishes with his toddler grandson, with an old lady friend, who he finally marries, and with a young college student and his professors. I personally was attracted by the description of the old man’s feelings and thoughts, leading to the reconsideration of his views and life attitudes.
The book is very beautifully written, at times with a touch of sadness or perceptive humour. It makes you feel and think about life, smile and maybe even shed a tear. For me it was a highly enjoyable reading and I wouldn’t doubt to recommend it to anyone who is fond of books about people’s lives. And it is also an excellent way to keep up your Spanish.
P.S. Any comment or correction will be appreciated.