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Learning to Lose

A Novel

by David Trueba

Learning to Lose by David Trueba
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2010
    608 pages
    Genre: Novels

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There are currently 20 reader reviews for Learning to Lose
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Hydee F. (Salt Lake City, Utah)

Learning to Lose
I procrastinated in starting this book because I didn't think I was going to enjoy it, but I was very, very wrong. I could not put this book down once I started it!

Trueba writes in such a raw, and real way, revealing the best and worst of each of his characters in a way that makes you feel compassion for them and their story. I was actually embarrassed for them at times. Each of the character's stories were enthralling, but in the end, I wanted more of Sylvia! I want to watch this young woman grow up and see how the rest of her journey turns out.

This was a marvelous read, I wish more of Mr. Trueba's work was translated to English!
Power Reviewer Claire M. (Hilton Head, SC)

Learning to Lose
A great read! A story of 3 generations of a Spanish family in Madrid and the ramifications of choices they’ve made. Fate has certainly set before them incidents that lead to those choices and the questions of immigration and sport as business are issues in the background.

Lorenzo retreats from Aurora's impending death by becoming overly fascinated with an African prostitute. Leandro, who has murdered his former business partner and whose wife Pilar has left him, becomes involved with an Ecuadoran au pair and daughter Sylvia is hit by a car driven by Ariel, a newly arrived Argentinean soccer player. The novel centers primarily on where the choices lead Lorenzo, Leandro, Sylvia and Ariel.

The questions and problems of each couple are timeless and Trueba (with his able translator) has written a beautiful novel, which speaks to the truth of who we are and how we define, or are defined by, our relationships. This is a novel to be read by anyone who likes to keep up with European literature as well as book clubs interested in exploring generational choices in living, and finding comfort in life.
Patricia K. (Los Angeles, California)

Learning to Lose
I started the book several times, and almost put it down, not getting beyond the first chapter. The third time, I fell in love with this book. The story is told of four connected characters, from different generations, all searching for a lasting human connection.

Trueba explores themes of immigration, aging, loneliness, and the angst of teenage years against the background of Madrid. His characters are rich and he draws you into caring for them, despite their flaws.

Overall a very satisfying read.
Power Reviewer Mary Lou F. (Naples, FL)

Learning the game
This book is very well written and the characters are very descriptive. Any one that enjoys soccer or wants to know about the soccer world would really enjoy this book. After reading this book, I appreciate the pressure athletes have put on them, both on and off the field.
Cynthia B. (Puyallup, WA)

Learning to Lose is a Winner!
The epitome of a page-turner, you continue on even though the alarm is set to go off in 2 hours – but you have to know what happens next, what secret will be revealed, what are the implications? Is it possible to read between your fingers covering your eyes? You bet! Perhaps it is because of his background in screenwriting that Mr. Trueba’s ability to create such vividly real points of view from multiple characters is so well honed – in any case, we can only hope that his previous works will be translated and that more will be available from this very gifted man.
Christine B. (St Paul, MN)

Learning to Lose
This is a poignant and remarkable story about three generations in a family each "learning to lose" some aspect of their identity. What they each learn about themselves and each other is what ties the characters together and relates to all of us as we struggle with our own decisions in life and how we learn to live with their consequences. I highly recommend this book.
Trezeline B. (Columbia, MD)

What A Book!
You are introduced to Aurora at the very beginning of the book. She injures her hip while dressing. Her husband, Leandro feels a strange compulsion to visit a house of ill repute and gives in to his lusting. Their 40 something son commits a murder. And his 16 year old daughter is hit by a car driven by a rich soccer player late one night.

These all work together to force you to keep reading to find out how all of these circumstances work themselves out.

While reading, I wanted so much to be part of a book club so that I could engage in a good discussion about motivations, life as experienced by the characters and fairness.

The ending is not expected, yet it satisfies. This is the first time I have read anything by Trueba, a Spanish writer who was translated by Mara Faye Lethem, but I will read his future books. Although translated, it reads very well. This book is a good read.
Bonnie B. (Fairbanks, AK)

Living and Losing
Learning to Lose has an interesting narrative but I feel like the novel was blunted somewhat by the translation. I believe that it would read more fluently in Spanish. The story is about an inter-generational family. There is Sylvia, 16 years old, who gets run over by Ariel, a 20 year-old soccer player from Argentina. They begin an intense relationship. Lorenzo, Sylvia's father, is raising Sylvia primarily by himself as his wife left him for another man. He is also dealing with the after-effects of murdering his ex-business partner. Then there is Leandro, Sylvia's grandfather, who is caught up in a web of sexual addiction. He loves his wife but can't stop himself from spending all of his money on a Nigerian prostitute. The chapters are told from the perspectives of different characters, a technique I enjoy. Soccer enthusiasts will especially enjoy this novel.
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