He maintained an intense relationship with novelists Juan Benet and Juan García Hortelano, poet Pere Gimferrer and writer (and neighbour) Félix de Azúa.
In 1975 he published his very successful first novel, La verdad sobre el caso Savolta (The Truth about the Savolta Case), where he shows his ability to use different resources and styles. The novel is considered a precursor to the social change in the Spanish post-Franco society and the first novel of the transition to democracy. He describes the union fights from the beginning of the 20th century, showing the social, cultural and economic reality of the Barcelona at the time. A year later he was awarded the Critic Prize.
His most acclaimed novel is probably La ciudad de los prodigios (The City of Marvels, 1986), about the social and urban evolution of Barcelona between the Universal Expositions of 1888 and 1929. It was adapted to the screen by Mario Camus in 1999.
In 1996, he published his third major Barcelona novel, this time set in the 1940s, Una comedia ligera (A Light Comedy).
Also within Mendoza's work stands the saga of Ceferino, a peculiar character, a detective locked up in a mental hospital. The first of these novels, El misterio de la cripta embrujada (The Mystery of the Bewitched Crypt, 1979) is a parody with hilarious moments mixing detective stories with gothic narrative.
In the second novel of the saga, El laberinto de las aceitunas (The Labyrinth of the Olives, 1982) he confirms his talent as parodist; the novel is one of his most successful works. The third (and last) novel of the saga, La aventura del tocador de señoras (The Adventure of the Powder Room) was published in 2002.
The newspaper El País published two of his novels by instalments, Sin noticias de Gurb ( No Word from Gurb, 1990) and El último trayecto de Horacio Dos (The Last Journey of Horatio Dos, 2001).
In 1990, his work in Catalan Restauració made its debut. He later translated it into Spanish himself.
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