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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This becomes the premise for the book. Cercas thinks many Spanish people of his generation have been reluctant to write about the Civil War which was experienced directly by their grandparents’ generation. The first part is basically the introduction to the second part which is the book the character Cercas yes, the author loz a struggling novelist character wrote.

He even managed to twist it into saying that the Republicans had been the rebels whilst they had actually been the legitimate democratically elected government, which he and his Fascists rebelled against.

You could read a bunch of Francoist propaganda and believe that the Republicans had been pure evil, and indeed it is true that some atrocities had been committed against the RC church by Republicans. And what’s a hero?

How the fallen are mighty

What is the real story? If anything, he was something of coward who simply caught a lucky break in managing to flee a fate that he eminently deserved.

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. Also, you can be a decent person for a whole lifetime, but you can’t be sapamina without a break, and that’s why a hero is only a hero exceptionally, once, or at most, during a spell or insanity or inspiration.

I wanted a copy of this book long before I read Cercas’ “Anatomy of a Moment” and finally tracked it down solados Spain. This scar has many dimensions. Moreover, many of the central elements of the book are a matter of historical record: So, does sopdados of this matter? Nov 29, David rated it really liked it Shelves: I thought so too.


In short the Falange, too, was betrayed by Salmaina, just as it had urged Franco and his ilk to betray Spain. Even mothers of young children were shot in the back of the head and kicked into mass graves with other “dissidents”. For the strategists, for the politicians, for the historians, it is all clear: After hiding in the Chilean embassy for the first year of the war, he is then taken prisoner on the ship Uruguay until the end of the war, when he is taken to the countryside to be killed by firing squad.

The writer’s task is to invent the reality.

Review: Soldiers of Salamis by Javier Cercas | Books | The Guardian

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Got a comment, question or suggestion? Spanish Civil War novels Posthegemony. Sanchez Mazas’s cause, the ‘moral and aesthetic definition of the Falangists’, was, according to Cercas, ‘made up of deliberate ideological confusion, mystical exaltation of violence and militarism, and essentialist vulgarities proclaiming the eternal character of the fatherland and the Catholic religion’.

About as ancient and as far removed as the battle of Salamis had been.

Soldados de Salamina | Posthegemony

I won’t give things away but there is a lot to ponder here. All the right-wingers whose family members died in the right-vs. Or someone, like Allende, who understands that a hero isn’t the one dalamina kills, but the one who doesn’t cercass or who lets himself get killed.

So anyway, after Franco died, Spain was lucky enough to have had good King Juan Carlos named by Franco as his successor, and as we all know, he was a spanking good chap who helped Spain along and even through a second right-wing coup attempt on its teetering legs towards Democracy.

The Philippine history has its own share of records that have to be corrected. Yes, the Chilean writer has a major part in this book. Helped by salamjna deserters, Mazas evades the retreating Republican forces cerca eventually returns to Falangist custody where he became an important propagandist for the Francisco Franco regime.

Even the side less popular. To ask other readers questions about Soldados de Salaminaplease sign up. Notify me of new comments via email. They knew or believed they knew that they were few, but this mere statistical circumstance did not daunt them.

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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. You are commenting using your Twitter account. Many of the corpses of those shot who had been exhumed, had their hands tied behind their backs. Trivia About Soldados de Salamina.

Mar 18, Irene rated it it was amazing. He is received as a hero, and feted throughout the newly nationalist country. It is composed in a mixture of fact and fiction, which is something of a speciality of the author. In response to this Cercas becomes obsessed with finding the soldier who spared the life of Mazas.

In his book The Spanish HolocaustPaul Preston avers thatpeople were executed between to by the fascists. I want to make an embarrassing confession. About 4 months ago, I knew pretty much nothing about the Spanish Civil War. View all 12 comments. The second section of slodados novel takes place during the war itself — Although he was no longer young and lod the physical strength, courage and even the essential conviction to be one – but not a family whose innocent sleep of bourgeois salamian he wished to preserve – Sanchez Mazas also felt it, and thus abandoned literature to give himself over salamins the cause with priestly devotion.

John Le Carre says one must think like a hero to behave like a decent human being. He said that before he wrote this book, he thought the Spanish Civil War had nothing to do with him; ancient history, as he saw it.

Worth the wait because I totally enjoyed the read. Soldados de Salamina jxvier Javier Cercas. While Franco navier conducting his “Cultural cleansing program” hundreds and thousands of Spaniards were shot en masse and dumped into mass graves. Books by Javier Cercas.