Books Burn Badly
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On August 19, 1936 Hercules the boxer stands on the quayside at Coruña and watches Fascist soldiers piling up books and setting them alight. With this moment a young, carefree group of friends are transformed into a broken generation. Out of this incident during the early months of Spain's tragic civil war, Manuel Rivas weaves a colorful tapestry of stories and unforgettable characters to create a panorama of 20th-century Spanish history—for it is not only the lives of Hercules the boxer and his friends that are tainted by the unending conflict, but also those of a young washerwoman who sees souls in the clouded river water and the stammering son of a judge who uncovers his father's hidden library. As the singed pages fly away on the breeze, their stories live on in the minds of their readers.
grooves was meant for him. A personal matter with the Austrian soprano and her high notes. He took more comfort in the low ones. Actually he knew his sense of anxiety was proportional to the attraction he felt for this music. Now that he thought about it, he really liked it, though he couldn’t have called it a passion. Aside from Chelo, he did know people who were passionate about opera. Something to do with the sea. There was a time great companies performed here on their way to America. Ships,
around a lamp and, when the record came to an end, she thought she could hear and smell the scorching of wings. Wings that burnt badly. That day, she had the letters in her hands and felt as if she were holding people. The effect of the song, even though she only understood a few words, sparks of excommunion, was to complicate everything. Get in your life, in the life of anyone who happened to be nearby. The future was a mystery, but this blazing melancholy extended the mystery to the past. When
Lady of Milk, which a restorer friend had shown her and even the priests didn’t know about. Long enough for the immediate danger to pass. She’d leave in the morning, as the first Mass was being said. Shame about the shawl. She needed time. She had to think. An item of clothing could change everything. The situation struck her now as absurd, but absurdity is defined by bad luck. That bogey. When she entered the hotel through reception, where she was received with smiles, from the policemen as
the mist of vague reality far removed. The War is hard and pure, as hard and pure is truth. It was the Poem of the Beast and the Angel, José María Pemán’s contribution to the ‘holy war’ against the satanic Republic. A poem belonging to them, to the victors filling the auditorium. But they were still confused. Confused in spring. Stunned. Unsure whether to clap or not. How he enjoyed that lyrical upheaval. He made some coffee. He felt well all right. The verdict was clear. That bastard would
following statement, They’ve outlawed shit and turned it into gold. The Judge of Oklahoma interpreted this as an act of contempt. The Judge of Oklahoma explained the different ways of applying the death penalty: hanging, firing squad, garrotte . . . One of those present in the courtroom couldn’t help commenting admiringly, What a versatile lot you are! The Judge of Oklahoma pronounced sentence with the same inclination with which the painter Castiglione sketched his Young Man with Lowered Head.