Based on a true story, the novel tells of an elderly former Nazi who has forged a new life on Spain’s eastern coast and another octogenarian, a survivor of the Mauthausen concentration camp who lives in Buenos Aires. A third character, Sandra, a young pregnant woman who lives next door to the erstwhile Nazi, gradually discovers her neighbor’s true identity.
The Nadal prize jury selected Sánchez’s novel from among 261 works submitted. The author said after learning she had won the award that “Lo que esconde tu nombre” is “a novel that I put a lot of effort into”, adding that she “learned a lot about life” in writing it.
Sánchez said she got the idea for the novel from a newspaper article about a elderly German couple that lived in Spain’s Costa del Sol, “like many other Nazis who took refuge on our coasts after World War II and grew old without raising suspicion.”
The novel’s message is that “the monsters we most fear are hiding behind very friendly faces, and sometimes the powerful, the people who commit abuses, unfortunately go their whole lives without paying any price whatsoever” for their crimes.