Jessica Loudis at The Nation:
One of the paradoxes of Nocilla Dream is that it is an apolitical book that owes its success in part to politics. Mallo was born in 1967, only eight years before Francisco Franco’s dictatorship gave way to Spain’s nascent democracy. He came of age in the midst of La Movida, the Madrid-based countercultural movement that released decades of pent-up desire for sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Through music, art, and, most notably, the early films of Pedro Almodóvar, La Movida introduced young Spaniards to a world beyond their own borders. At its height, Mallo was living in Madrid as a full-fledged punk in the first year of a physics degree, skipping parties to stay in and write. It was a heady time for artists, and in his insightful introductory essay, Bunstead draws a parallel between “the trilogy’s fractured chaos and its huge, almost yearning emphasis on order” and “the wider Spanish experience of this period,” which saw the country struggling to define itself in the absence of Franco.