The Defenses

The Defenses


The Defenses

Original title: Las defensas
Author: Gabi Martínez

Camilo Escobedo is a 50-year-old successful neurologist who, in 2006, was wrongly diagnosed by his colleagues as bipolar, when in fact he suffered from a rare autoimmune disease. This lead him to insult and attack his loved ones and left his colleagues with the ordeal to have to treat him as a patient, not a doctor or a friend. Abandoned by everyone and with no professional credibility left, he literary becomes insane. During a moment of lucidity, between relapses, he manages to diagnose himself with a recently-discovered illness called limbic encephalitis, in which the brain nurses antibodies (NMDAR) that auto-sabotage the patient’s mental health. One of the greatest achievements of this book is the narrative intelligence with which the author frames

Escobedo’s biography within the grand arch of the current Spanish political, economic and ethical crisis. Escobedo’s account of his personal life, the biographical genealogy of his sickness, mirrors the evolution of Spanish democracy until the present day. In the tradition of In Cold Blood, and reminiscent also of The Human Stain and A Beautiful Mind, the protagonist of Las defensas is not presented as a hero or as a victim, he is just presented as what he is: a fighter (who has to prove to the world that he is not mad), with all his ‘lights’ as well as his unforgivable ‘shadows’, and a real person.

Original language

SPANISH | Seix Barral

Translation rights

CATALAN | Catedral
FRENCH | Bourgois Éditeur
ITALIAN | Bompiani (Giunti)

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