On the Edge by Rafael Chirbes
Devastating, desolate, and disquieting, On the Edge ought to rank as one of the decade's finest novels. Set in late 2010, following the economic crisis that ravaged the world economy, the late Spanish author’s novel offers an unflinching glimpse of a nation despoiled and reeling. An unemployment rate of 20 percent (and rising), poverty, prostitution, xenophobia, Islamophobia, immigration fears, human trafficking, violence, corruption, and environmental decay are the real-life milieu upon which Chirbes situates his unforgiving tale. A remarkable portrait of one man's struggle to make sense of an encompassing personal, economic, and social decay, On the Edge breathes life into an otherwise asphyxiating scene.