THE UNFORSAKEN by Christian Murciaux


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A humanized picture of the Spanish Civil War which flows along easily if without great emotion. Juanito Sanchez, of the huerta, a farmer from the rich Valencian plain, virile, valorous, imbued with faith, is the nineteen-year-old hero through whom we experience the passage of arms. The author first sets his hero in the climate of his region, where Our Lady of the Forsaken reigns, then takes him to war in the Republican Army. Officer Agustin tries to corrupt his faith but only falls victim to his peasant nobility and male beauty. Unaware of this undercurrent, Juanito first loves Soledad, of whom he eventually wearies, then Encarnacion, whose older attachment to Pablo leads her to escape with him to France though she carries Juanito's child. These encounters occur amidst the confusion and clamor of battle--and historic moments, the crossing of the Ebro, the march through Barcelona, the final defeat of the Republican forces and dispersal, are the warp and woof of the story. At the end, Agustin sees to Juanito's future in a typically subtle manner, and secures his own death. Juanito returns to the huerta, where the land and his mother await him. Receiver of the Prix du Roman, this is still of only passing interest here: its lucidity, suited to the folk epic, is yet greater than its depth.

Pub Date: Jan. 15th, 1963
Publisher: Pantheon