THE ONE DAY OF THE WEEK by Rafael Sanchez Ferlosio


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This book is the first full-length contemporary novel of a young Spanish writer whose only earlier book, a fantasy, was translated into French and German but not English. It is very much a slice of life novel and may not be to everyone's taste, since absolutely nothing happens. It is true that a girl is drowned at the end, but that incident is just a ""happening"" -- it is in no sense the climax of the book, which has none. We are eavesdroppers on the conversations of two groups of people on a Sunday in a small town outside Madrid. There is a river where people from the city come to swim, and there are several riverside cafes which cater to the excursionists. A group of eleven young working people come on their bicycles and scooters to spend the day; they are known at one of the cafes from previous summers, and spend part of the evening there. For the reader, the day is spent flashing back and forth between the utterly disconnected conversations of the young people on the river bank, and of the people inside the cafe -- the proprietor and his family, some local village men, and a family from the city. Some of these conversations are quite brilliant in their development and display of antagonisms. But there will be many who will think that a vignette extended to 383 pages unfortunately becomes boring. Unfortunately, we repeat, because the book is ambitious, the author worth watching.

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 1962
Publisher: AbeLard-Schuman