White on Black

White on Black

By Ruben Gallego; Marian Schwartz (Translator)

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780151012275, 176pp.

Publication Date: January 1, 2006


This is an extraordinary personal testament, the story of one boy's triumph in the face of impossible obstacles. Born with cerebral palsy in Moscow, Ruben Gallego was hidden away in Soviet state institutions by his maternal grandfather, the secretary general of the Spanish Communist Party in the 1960s. His was a boyhood spent in orphanages, hospitals, and old-age homes, a life of emotional deprivation and loss of human dignity. And yet, there is no self-pity here, no bitterness, only an unfailing regard for the truth. Gallego's story is one of neglect and mistreatment but also of shared small pleasures, of courage, of the power of the human will, and of a child's growing fascination with books and the worlds he finds in them. Winner of the 2003 Russian Booker Prize, White on Black is "one of those rare books one can call revolutionary" (Corriere della Sera, Italy).

About the Author

RUBEN GALLEGO was separated from his family at the age of one. He lived in Russia and worked as a computer specialist until 2000, when he was reunited with his mother. Gallego now lives in Freiburg, Germany. Winner of the 2003 Russian Booker Prize

Praise For White on Black


"This book is today's Gulag Archipelago, a plea to ordinary people not to close themselves off to the truth."--The New York Times

"An uncomplaining account of the harshest imaginable upbringing, it is a tribute to the resilience of the individual will."--The New Statesman (London)

"Mr. Gallego''s little book is deeply moving, his triumph a joy to read about."

-Steve Goode