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Manuel Vázquez Montalbán (1939–2003) was one of the best-known and loved Spanish writers of the second half of the twentieth century. A militant socialist, he was imprisoned for his political activities under Franco. In the mid-sixties, he began his career as a poet and journalist, but would achieve his greatest fame with a series of detective novels centering on Pepe Carvalho, a Galician private eye residing in Barcelona: through fiction, Montalbán would expose both his political beliefs and his great love for food and wine. An accomplished food journalist, late in life Vásquez would produce a limited edition, semi-fictional text purporting to be the memoirs of a latter-day Robinson Crusoe, an urbane gastronome shipwrecked on a desert island where he satisfies himself by philosophizing about his former meals.