THE SECOND LIFE OF CAPTAIN CONTRERAS by Torcuato Luca De Tena

THE SECOND LIFE OF CAPTAIN CONTRERAS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Written by a former ABC correspondent in Washington and translated from the Spanish by Barnaby Conrad, this satirical novel of modern Spain tells of a swashbuckling soldier, Captain Contreras, who, sentenced to death by the Inquisition and buried for 300 years in a state of suspended animation, is in 1933 brought back to life. Contreras, a brave, boastful, handsome man in his fifties who had lived a vivid life before the Inquisition caught up with him, brings to his 20th- century existence a full set of 17th-century morals. Fascinated and confused by the world in which he finds himself, he falls in love with a beautiful woman, Paca, who, with the doctor who revivified him and an unscrupulous journalist, Conejo, the narrator of the story, helps exploit him. Brought to America, Contreras returns to Spain in an effort to regain his old life; here, sheltered by a prostitute and disillusioned by Conejo, he dies, seeing in the people around him symbols of ""a Spain proud, skeptical, frivolous, inept and incapable ... living on the smug assumption that it is the last refuge for the world's spirituality."" Imaginative in concept but suffering at times from an irritating vagueness, this Don Quixote tale will appeal to readers with a knowledge of Spain and readers with a taste for satirical fantasy with political and moral overtones.

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 1960
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin