Learning To Lose is a captivating novel, which tells the stories of complex lives as they collide in contemporary Madrid. Connected by their familial bonds, three generations of the Roque family struggle with modern life and relationships.
Trueba’s analysis of the family unit is intricate and compassionate, as the protagonists undertake explosive interactions with others around them. The oldest member, Leandro, conducts an obsessive, bankrupting and dangerous affair, his son Lorenzo commits cold-blooded murder after his wife leaves him for her dynamic boss, and Lorenzo’s daughter Sylvia explores her new teenage infatuation with an international soccer star. Throughout the narrative it seems as if these extremes of character are regular as Trueba accesses each of the subtle emotions from disgust, lust, rage and paranoia.
Each of these characters is portrayed as normal, their acts and decisions are natural rather than sensational and dramatic, allowing the reader to empathise completely. It is this style of telling their stories that makes Learning to Lose an addictive and absorbing novel.