In the late 1970s, after the death of Franco, Spain was in a state of transition. Gangs of juvenile delinquents, called quinquis, swarmed the streets. The most famous of them was Zarco.
In the summer of '78, Zarco's gang rises to infamy. One of his recruits is a middle-class misfit he dubs Gafitas. The sixteen-year-old is dazzled by Zarco, but even more so by the gorgeous Tere, who may or may not be Zarco's girlfriend. Drawn away from his staid summer job, Gafitas becomes involved in a crime spree that quickly escalates from snatching handbags to robbing banks. When a robbery goes wrong, Zarco is caught, and Gafitas returns to his old life. Tere disappears. But their three fates will always be intertwined, and Zarco's polestar persona only grows in prison, celebrated in movies and songs, fueled by his role in riots and breakouts. And after Gafitas becomes a prominent lawyer, Tere shows up to recruit him once again.
Now, Gafitas wants to tell the true story of the notorious gangster. In Outlaws, Javier Cercas surveys, with his usual brio, the porous borders between fact and fiction, right and wrong, proving himself once again one of the most brilliant novelists writing today.