La Ciudad de los Ojos Grises

Félix G. Modroño, La Ciudad de los Ojos Grises [The City of Grey Eyes]
(Sevilla: Algaida, 2012)

Alfredo Gastiasoro was born at a time when Bilbao was no longer a town, but rather a frenetic race towards modernity, until it became a more prosperous city of Europe, even if the majority of citizens did not look kindly on the sacrifices inflicted on them by all these technological advances. Until then, the people of Bilbao have not had to worry about strikes, the whistle of the railways, the overwhelming daily press, the roar of cars or the shock of phone calls.

translated by Begoña Villanueva García

Félix Modroño uses the telephone in La Ciudad de los Ojos Grises to represent Bilbao’s modernization at the beginning of the 20th century. In fact, the telephone had been in evidence in the city since the end of the 19th century, as Bilbao ceased being a village and became a place where citizens from other regions came in search of the jobs offered by the various factories installed near the city. While the author does not include dialogue via the telephone, there are many references to the modernisation that their installation brings. Through the eyes of the book’s protagonist, Alfredo, readers discover the changes that took place in Bilbao, the city where he was born and to which he returns after many years living in Paris. The telephone thus represents the passage of time.

by Begoña Villanueva García