Spanish publisher subverts court gag by using Don Quixote to recreate banned book

Finding Fariña website allows access to exposé of drug trafficking in Galicia while author, Nacho Carretero, and publisher face legal action

Don Quixote famously tilted at windmills; now the Booksellers Guild of Madrid is using Cervantes’s 400-year-old novel to take a tilt at the Spanish court system, highlighting 80,000 words in Don Quixote to make the text of a recently banned book about drug smuggling available to readers online.

Nacho Carretero’s Fariña, an expose of drug trafficking in Galicia, was published in 2015, but publication and sales were halted last month after the former mayor of O Grove in Galicia, Jose Alfredo Bea Gondar, brought legal action against Carretero and his publisher, Libros del KO. Bea Gondar is suing over details in the book about his alleged involvement in drug shipping.

Describing the suspension of the book’s sale as a “disproportionate and anachronistic measure … to prevent people from reading the story”, the Booksellers Guild of Madrid has launched the website Finding Fariña, which uses a digital tool to trawl through the text of Don Quixote to find and highlight the 80,000 words that make up Fariña, allowing users to read the book despite the ban.

As Fariña contains words that did not exist in the early 17th century when Cervantes wrote his novel, the tool assembles these syllable by syllable from combinations of words in Don Quixote.

Carretero’s book alleges that Bea Gondar was involved in the shipping and unloading of cocaine and a negotiation between Colombia’s Cali cartel and local smugglers. Bea Gondar was found guilty by Madrid’s national court but the ruling was later overturned by the supreme court because one witness was disqualified – all of which is laid out in Carretero’s book.

The guild said that its initiative was “our way of defending the freedom of the press and freedom of expression, and of reminding people of something that is very important: there are some books that can never be silenced … Because what they will never be able to censure are your rights as a reader. Nor words. And least of all, Don Quixote.”

Contributor

Alison Flood

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Chinese Don Quixote is translated into Spanish after 100 years
Lin Shu’s forgotten 1922 text, The Story of the Enchanted Knight – with a less deluded Don Quixote – in edition for China and Spain

Sam Jones in Madrid

23, Apr, 2021 @4:00 AM

Don Quixote rides again in 400-year celebrations
The Spanish government is preparing to celebrate the 400th anniversary in 2005 of its country's most famous literary character.

Ben Sills in Madrid

31, Dec, 2004 @1:10 PM

Article image
Madrid begins search for bones of Don Quixote author Miguel de Cervantes

Historians and archaeologists hunt for writer's remains in city centre convent with approval from Madrid's archbishopric

Giles Tremlett in Madrid

25, Jul, 2011 @6:17 PM

Article image
Modern version of Don Quixote declared 'crime against literature'
Andrés Trapiello’s modern-language version of Miguel de Cervantes’ classic is ‘necessary’ says expert, as Spanish academics rebel

Alison Flood

19, Aug, 2015 @2:15 PM

Article image
As Terry Gilliam's Don Quixote stalls again, Disney plans rival movie
Screenwriter Billy Ray reportedly working on adaptation of classic novel about the delusional, romantic knight

Andrew Pulver

14, Oct, 2016 @9:42 AM

Article image
Two English authors 'engineered start of Spanish civil war', claims new book
History of London’s Authors’ Club reveals plot by two members to bring General Franco back to mainland Spain from Las Palmas in 1936

Danuta Kean

27, Jan, 2017 @12:08 PM

Article image
Cervantes' epic reborn as an animated romp

Animated version of Don Quixote, Miguel Cervantes' 17th-century epic, will open in cinemas across Spain next week

Paul Hamilos in Madrid

28, Nov, 2007 @11:59 PM

Were these the Two Gentlemen of Madrid?
A new film suggests Shakespeare and Cervantes met in Spain and gave each other literary help.

Vanessa Thorpe, arts and media correspondent

01, Jul, 2007 @4:21 PM

Article image
It’s all for love as Spain’s Barbara Cartland finally gets a chance to woo British readers
Corín Tellado is famed throughout the Spanish-speaking world for her light romance novellas

Sam Jones in Madrid

06, Nov, 2016 @12:05 AM

Fares face long wait as cabbie gets paid to read
A Madrid taxi driver has won a competition to be paid to read Miguel de Cervantes' literary masterpiece, Don Quixote. Taxi driver Javier Carretero successfully applied for a grant of €642 (£438) to take time off from driving his Skoda Octavia in order to read Spain's classic text.

Giles Tremlett in Madrid

23, Nov, 2005 @12:23 AM