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Requiem Por Un Campesino Español…
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Requiem Por Un Campesino Español (Spanish Edition) (original 1960; edition 2006)

by Ramon J. Sender, Borja Rodriguez Gutierrez (Editor)

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284539,700 (3.85)1
Member:Cvalda
Title:Requiem Por Un Campesino Español (Spanish Edition)
Authors:Ramon J. Sender
Other authors:Borja Rodriguez Gutierrez (Editor)
Info:Stockcero (2006), Paperback, 108 páginas
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
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Réquiem por un campesino español by Ramón José Sender (1960)

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Spanish (3)  French (1)  English (1)  All languages (5)
This short novel documents the life and death of Paco, a young Spaniard with a magnetic personality who briefly rose to political prominence in a small rural community. The town priest, Mosén Millán, was present at all the major events of Paco's life, and the story centers on him as he prepares a requiem to celebrate the one year anniversary of Paco's death. I actually read it a few months ago, but I was thinking the other day about the moral dilemma the priest faces when the Francoist opposition takes over. It's easy to hate him as you finish the story, but it's also easy to understand him and wonder if his behavior wasn't justifiable after all. I guess you have to decide whether anybody, even a man of the cloth, can stay above the fray when there's a war going on and people are being killed.

It's a well-structured book, not long, rather complicated but quite readable at the same time. The entire story takes place in about a 20 minute segment of time as the priest is slowly joined for the requiem by the triumvirate of local political power, don Valeriano, don Gumersindo and señor Cástulo. The altar boy drifts in and out of the story, singing a romance that the townspeople have created about Paco during the year since his death. The bulk of the novel is comprised of the priest's memories of Paco at different moments in his life, and through his reminiscences you get a good feel for the town and the locations where people congregated during the years before the Civil War: the homesteads where baptisms and weddings are held, the countryside, the caves where the least-fortunate sectors of society live in abject poverty, and the "Carasol" where the town gossips chat about what was going around around them. Lots of places, and also lots of people. You've got the two central characters, Paco and Mosén Millán, and a large cast of townspeople surrounding them. I especially enjoyed the Celestinesque Jerónima, who does most of the talking at the Carasol, and the communist cobbler, whose thoughts stand in interesting contrast with the rising and falling fortunes of the Republicans and the nationalists. Really, it's surprising to flip back through this book and think about how much happened in so few pages. It went by quickly, but the author had a nice touch in the arrangement of the different people and places as they are evoked by the priest as he thinks back on the life of his former helper.

I've been reading a lot of books from Spain the past few months and this one was a good introduction to fiction about the Spanish Civil War. I found myself looking up historical information to complement my relative ignorance of Spain's history (my knowledge of the war being based largely on George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia). This book would be a nice complement to that one, because while Orwell gives you a worldly, intellectual outsider's view of the later portion of the war, Sender's book gives you a rural community whose inhabitants are caught up in the rise and violent fall of the Republic. ( )
  msjohns615 | Nov 10, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sender, Ramón Joséprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
PelayoIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 987113648X, Paperback)

Réquiem por un campesino español, a short, elegant and moving account of the tragic effects of the Spanish Civil War on a small Aragonese population, is often called Ramón J. Sender's greatest masterpiece. It was the author's own favorite book and -in his own words- of all his novels it is "the simplest, and the most universal". This characteristic of "universality" flows through all Sender's writings, while he manages to still be the most Spanish of the generation that began to write just before the onset of the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39. As a journalist who allied himself with the Republican side in the Spanish civil war, Sender (1901-82) was a privileged eyewitness to Spain's struggle, suffering and defeat, a situation he continued to write about after he left Spain in 1938. While his texts are considered essential source material by historians of this era, at the same time, the anguish and pain, losses and victories of the profoundly Spanish characters are portrayed as universal emotions and experiences that continue to move readers of all nationalities. Within Hispanic literature, Réquiem por un campesino español (first published in Mexico in 1953, banned in Spain for many years) is considered to stand on a par with Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea within North American literature. Both are brief and profound, and recount intense, dramatic stories that initially seem uncomplicated. They are both important novels that in their brevity and apparent simplicity continue to resonate with essential truths. Three qualities of the novel are emphasized in the essay by Prof. Borja Rodríguez Gutiérrez that introduces this edition: the story's meticulous, mathematical structure devised by a self aware writer; its use of reiteration of certain key elements; and the carefully structured allegory with which it transmits its denunciation of the injustice and treachery that underlie history. The careful lexicographic notes included will help the modern reader grasp the plot in all its dramatic, Spanish, intensity.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:29 -0400)

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