PEACE AFTER WAR by Jose Maria Gironella


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This is the third installment of what was to have been a trilogy (Sr. Gironella is planning to extend it) which began with The Cypresses Believe in God (1955) and continued with One Million Dead (1963). To date the critical consensus has wavered between the worthiness of its intentions and the dullness of its achievement. Gironella is a documentarist rather than a novelist; the characters are rarely identified any more fully than in the glossary appended. This interval, again in Gerona, covers the years between wars (Spain's and World War II) and there are reverberations of what is happening beyond the borders while Europe is ""cracking its knuckles."" However in Gerona the clean-up period is fired with forward-looking nationalist aims--there are various programs and purges from the Mayor who wishes to rebuild the city to the Bishop who wants to close down the brothels or the Governor who is determined to ""politicize"" the culture. Most of this proceeds under the hegemony of its civilian and military Governors, its Falangist organizer and the Bishop, but there are many supernumeraries and functionaries of all kinds. Once again the personal aspects of the novel relate primarily to the Alvear family which has been prominent throughout the chronicle; these come as welcome intermissions and deal with the romance of Ignacio and Marta and then Ana Maria, or the long-expected marriage of Pilar and Mateo, or the return of Paz (once a Communist) to sell perfumes and fall in love. The work however remains a transcription of this particular political phase and anticipates a reader of formidably high resolve.

Pub Date: April 18th, 1969
Publisher: Knopf