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The Hive by Camilo José Cela (1951)

  1. 00
    Books Burn Badly by Manuel Rivas (alalba)
    alalba: Dos novelas corales en las que se habla de las consecuencias de la guerra civil espanola

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Spanish (5)  English (5)  Dutch (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (12)
Showing 5 of 5
it has 346 chracters!! ( )
  Kirmuriel | Sep 19, 2013 |
Great depiction of Madrid in the Franco-era. ( )
  borhap | Aug 27, 2013 |
Good and vivid depiction of a multitude of city characters, in a chaotic Madrid during WWII. Interesting enough. But somehow I did not appreciate the writing style (too character-invading). ( )
  Miguelnunonave | Aug 5, 2013 |
Much like the alluring chatter of a café, this novel is laced with multiple narrative arcs that weave in and out of each other, all buzzing with a certain energy. We keep our ear close to the humming vitality of these certain persons who, in cafés or wandering through the streets, pursue lurid passions or conspire or simply try to survive in the chaos and lurking uncertainty of post-war Spain. Because of its multiple arcs, the book is often funny and sometimes sorrowful, but always beautiful. There is a sweetness in this book that one feels, thanks to the sort of comfortable voyeurism that Cela creates. His characters so vivid that to read his language makes us feel as though we intrude on the most intimate moments. ( )
1 vote poetontheone | May 25, 2013 |
Camilo Jose Cela's most famous novel is set in Madrid, during the Second World War. The book was first published, I believe, in Argentina: its sly portrait of a city divided between rich and poor, victors and defeated, and its frank portrayal of the most intimate and sometimes sordid details of daily life must have conflicted with the picture of Spanish life propagated by the Church and Franco. The book's title, "La Colmena", or The Beehive" in English, is highly appropriate: the book consists largely of dialogue, interweaving the lives of hundreds of characters. By definition, none of them can really aspire to be heroes or heroines, either in life or in the novel.The result is a novel which gives a claustrophobic sense of hundreds of lives lived in close proximity, confined, indeed, within the modest length of Cela's novel. The book is also, at times, a comic as well as a realistic portrait of poverty: as a portrait of life under a dictatorship, it appears to stress not so much oppression as exhaustion and defeat. A persistent theme of the novel is exploitation: never on a grand scale, but petty and mean and extending into the intimate lives of its characters, especially of young women forced to grant sexual favours or prostitute themselves in an attempt to provide for their children, their relations and themselves. If the book has a fault it has to be in its somewhat sentimental portraits of such women. And yet, as I read, I found myself wondering about both the definition and literary value of sentimentality. Perhaps it is the first sign of an extension of sympathy to groups previously ignored or despised, as in the sentimental view of children which developed in the Europe of the late eighteenth century. In a country scarred by civil war and economic isolation, Cela's "sympathy" for his youthful female characters may have marked the first hesitant step towards the recovery of humanity in Franco's Spain. But as well as a political event, the publication of Cela's novel marked the beginning of a modest rebirth in Spanish literature after the years of war and exile. ( )
2 vote miltonwings | Sep 3, 2009 |
Showing 5 of 5
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» Add other authors (33 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Camilo José Celaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barea, ArturoIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cohen, J. M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ponzanelli, SergioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rijkmans, J.G.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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'Laten we de verhoudingen niet uit het oog verliezen. Ik heb er meer dan genoeg van het telkens weer te zeggen, maar het is het enige belangrijke.'
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Madrid tijdens de winter van 1942. De kleine burgerij vegeteert in koffiehuizen en bordelen; het leven sleept zich voort in de monotonie van onbeduidende conflicten en schaarse momenten van geluk. Een bonte stoet van Madrilenen trekt voorbij - biddend, ruziënd, roddelend, de liefde bedrijvend.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374522308, Paperback)

In this extraordinary novel of life in Madrid after the Spanish Civil War, Camilo Jose Cela conveys with startling immediacy not only the brutality but also the vitality of life in the city. His style—economical but vivid—carries the reader through a series of vignettes, following Cela’s many characters through the streets and tenements and brothels and, above all, the cafés of the great beehive—la colmena—of Madrid. Both a social document of its time and place and a moving tale of human suffering—and human triumph--under a totalitarian regime, The Hive is “a brilliant and original work” (Gerald Brenan, The New York Times Book Review).

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:19 -0400)

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