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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
3

on 3 June 2016
Sometimes the gradings don't do justice to a book. I couldn't bring myself to say I loved the book because I didn't and I didn't really like the book either but it's a book that should be essential reading to all of us who try our Spanish out in Barcelona and wonder why they would far prefer us to speak English. It is not because our Spanish is so bad. It is the deep scars that the Spanish Civil War inflicted on so many people and if you had been on the wrong side, ( not Franco's) then life afterwards was very, very grim.

Many men escaped to France to fight with the Resistance and were caught and tortured. Even when that war was over, there was no end to the suffering, men tricking you, men betraying you.

The story is told by a young adolescent waiting to start his first job and his attachment to a young girl who has TB. Her father was one of those men who had had to escape from Barcelona. She dreams of being re-united with him.

A mysterious man turns up and their world becomes more orderly, more measured and every day he tells her a little more about her father's whereabouts.

Juan Marse has a reputation as being one of the leading Spanish authors at the moment and I could see why. I will search out more books by him. He is a story telling master.
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on 7 June 2016
Fantastic novella. To me, it represented the importance of story-telling and how it doesn't matter if the lines between fact and fiction are poetically blurred. Sometimes life is a disappointing tale that needs enlivening; sometimes our heroes are not as gallant as we dream. Well translated- made for beautiful prose. I look forward to reading more of Marse's work.
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on 14 September 2012
A concise story about a young man drawing a portrait of a consumptive girl in post-war barcelona. The novel picks up with the arrival of a man linked with the sick girls mysterious father who begins telling his story.

A well written novel that evokes Franco's spain. 3.5 stars.
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