SOLDIERS OF SALAMIS

Javier Cercas, Author, Anne McLean, Translator , trans. from the Spanish by Anne McLean. Bloomsbury $23.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-58234-384-6

Spanish journalist and novelist Cercas strives for a "true tale" in his first book to be published in the U.S., the story of a political prisoner during the Spanish Civil War who cheated death twice in one day. Narrated by a Spanish journalist also called Javier Cercas, the novel is the chronicle of his quest to uncover a story as slippery and charmed as its protagonist, Rafael Sánchez Mazas, a founder of the fascistic Spanish Falange, who became a minister without portfolio in Franco's postwar government. Before rising to his position of power, however, Sánchez Mazas was captured by a group of Republicans and marched into the woods along with his comrades to be executed; moments after his daring flight, "an anonymous defeated soldier" spied him—but said nothing. The facts of this fascist writer's miraculous escape quickly became legend, aided in no small part by the oral and written efforts of Sánchez Mazas himself. Sixty years later, Cercas, an inadvertent archeologist digging through his nation's bloody past, unearths revelations and epiphanies that are far less wondrous than the surface gloss, but much more useful to present-day existence. His thematic conclusions are powerful and humane enough to compensate for a narrative voice that is often speculative or long-winded. This work sometimes suffers from a scarcity of scenes and dialogue, but its moral core is smart and compelling. (Feb.)

Forecast: Europeans, deconstructionists and perhaps even fans of Paul Auster will be intrigued by this novel's air of literary detection. It should appeal to would-be writers, too; Cercas's metafiction is insightful and sometimes funny ("Shit!" a friend says to the character Cercas. "Didn't I tell you not to write about a fascist? Those people fuck up everything they touch. What you have to do is forget all about that book and start on another one. How about one on García Lorca?") rather than theoretical and hollow.

Reviewed on: 01/19/2004
Release date: 02/01/2004
Show other formats
FORMATS
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-59691-737-8
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-1-58234-472-0
Hardcover - 224 pages - 978-0-7475-6315-0
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-7475-6823-0
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.