Franco may have won the war, but he lost the literature. So finds Nick Caistor in Soldiers of Salamis by Javier Cercas. Javier Cercas’s Soldados de Salamina (Soldiers of Salamis) is a hybrid, metafictional (or self-reflective) blend of fiction and fact, novel and. Soldados de Salamina: Soldiers of Salamis. Javier Cercas, Author TusQuets $ (p) ISBN Tweet. More By and About This Author.

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Now I recently listened to a podcast interview with Cercas, and even in his Epilogue to the edition, I was puzzled.

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They felt their duty was to preserve civilisation by force and avoid the catastrophe. In school, we were taught that both Gen. See what he did there? Cercas thinks many Spanish people of his generation have been reluctant to write about ee Civil War which was experienced directly by their dee generation. The book was a best-seller in Spain, and I am ashamed to admit it has taken me this long to read the book.

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Nel un giornalista intervista uno scrittore, che gli racconta sa,amina singolarissima vicenda del proprio padre, tra i fondatori della falange, ‘fucilato’ nella zona dei Pirenei dove, verso la fine della Guerra Civile Spagnola, molti Repubblicani fuggivano verso la Francia con un carico di prigionieri.

He is discovered by a republican militiaman, who stares him in the face, and then spares his life, shouting to his companions that there is no one there. Not only was the country split in two during the civil war, but there followed 40 years of rule by one side that sought to deny any virtues to its adversaries.

Emilio Aguinaldo and Andres Bonifacio are both heroes. Indeed, if salzmina were not for the stunning success of Soldados de Salaminahe would be more forgotten still. You just had to be against Franco to be vermin. The second section is a biographical retelling of Mazas’s life. The word ‘revolution’ gets bandied about a lot, often without context and usually with positive intonations, as though the act of revolt itself were somehow desirable. Even mothers of young children were shot in the back of the head and kicked into mass graves with other “dissidents”.


Sanchez Mazas becomes a national hero and the soldier disappears into history. At that time [Falangist leader] Jose Antonio was very fond of quoting a phrase of Oswald Spengler’s; that at the eleventh hour it had always been a squad of soldiers that had saved civilisation.

However, when the character Cercas asked Millares towards the end if he and the militiaman were one and the same, he said “No” and the answers to the questions I wrote at the start of this review were what he explained. Our teachers did not teach us at least in the provincial public elementary school where I came from that crcas was actually Aguinaldo who ordered the execution of Bonifacio.

Soldados de Salamina: Soldiers of Salamis

Their bodies were lying in unmarked graves, salaminw often times, unmarked mass graves. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. A novel that, although it doesn’t feel like a conventional novel, excels thanks to its old-fashioned degree angle narrative arc: Wait, in the first place, do we always need to?

Spanish novels novels Spanish Civil War novels.

Soldiers of Salamis – Wikipedia

Franco also averred that they were “anti-Spain” and of course, the fact that they were secularist didn’t help their case. And as for winning the war, yes soldwdos the fictional Miralles he has a street in Bilbao named after him, but otherwise he is basically forgotten. Sentences extend with surprising clauses until at last, stunned and breathless, you shake your head and read them over, savouring them even in your outrage.

View all 5 comments. Notify me of new comments via email. Are there instances when it is better to leave them as they are? I thought so too. Sanchez Mazas’s cause, the ‘moral and aesthetic def The word ‘revolution’ gets bandied about a lot, often without context and usually with positive intonations, as though the act of revolt itself were somehow desirable.


A vital part of the attempt to keep the past as living memory rather than dead history is to investigate individual motives, and the story of Mazas xalamina around a central question: Return to Book Page. Suffice it to say that inSpain passed a new law. The tale is written as if the author is doldados what he has heard, giving it a personal approach.

This man, Antoni Miralles, will not say straight out whether he was the man or not. It’s ‘about those inconceivable moments when all of civilisation depends on a single man, and about that man and about how civilisation repays that man. It is rare to read a Civil War book which such a lack of prejudice. Of one of these ‘forest friends’ Cercas writes: Miralles is a veteran not only of the Spanish Civil War in which he is on the losing, Republican side but also of World War Two, in which he fights—ceaselessly, without respite—as a member of the French Foreign Legion, from North Africa to Normandy to Paris he is in the first Allied unit to liberate the French capital and on to Germany and Austria.

There’re lots of decent people: Worth the wait because I totally enjoyed the read. As to Sanchez Mazas’s own life after the war: The narrator is fascinated by the way memory congeals into history: In the first part, we meet the narrator, also called “Javier Cercas”, who disarmingly admits from the start that he is a failure as husband and writer.

Yet at the same time, Franco and his supporters “won the war but lost the history of literature”. You know that Hemingway covered the Spanish Civil War as a correspondent and he, together with George Orwell, sided with the Republican government.

He practised politics, but deep down always scorned them. Enfes bir deneyim oldu.