Field of Honour

Overview

A contemporary of Lorca and Buñuel in Spain’s Second Republic, Max Aub escaped into a life of exile after General Franco seized Barcelona. His masterpiece, acknowledged in Spain as one of the best accounts of the Spanish Civil War, is the five-novel cycle known as The Magic Labyrinth—never before translated into English. A playwright as well as a novelist, he brings the period alive through vibrant dialogue and a story that navigates the factional intrigues that eventually ...

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Overview

A contemporary of Lorca and Buñuel in Spain’s Second Republic, Max Aub escaped into a life of exile after General Franco seized Barcelona. His masterpiece, acknowledged in Spain as one of the best accounts of the Spanish Civil War, is the five-novel cycle known as The Magic Labyrinth—never before translated into English. A playwright as well as a novelist, he brings the period alive through vibrant dialogue and a story that navigates the factional intrigues that eventually erupted onto the streets in violence.

The protagonist of the first novel is Rafael López Serrador, whose coming of age in Barcelona introduces a cast from all walks of city life—Catalan nationalists, anarchists, Falangists, government ministers and showgirls. Just as central a character is Barcelona itself, lovingly depicted. Rafael’s adventures bring him into contact with the forces that were to destroy the Republic and determine the bloody course of the Spanish Civil War. Masterfully translated by Gerald Martin, author of Gabriel García Márquez: A Life, Max Aub’s novel is set to introduce to an English-speaking audience a classic of Spanish and Latin American literature—an account of the Spanish Civil War to compare with Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls.

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Editorial Reviews

Gerald Griffiths Brown
“Not only indispensable reading for anyone who wants to fathom the psychological origins of the Spanish Civil War, it is indisputably the most impressive work of literary art among the host of novels produced by the war.”
From the Publisher
“Not only indispensable reading for anyone who wants to fathom the psychological origins of the Spanish Civil War, it is indisputably the most impressive work of literary art among the host of novels produced by the war.”—Gerald Griffiths Brown, author of A Literary History of Spain
Publishers Weekly

Aub's powerful coming-of-age novel (originally published in 1943) is set during the years leading up to the Spanish Civil War and follows a young man's bewildering political enlightenment as he moves from the Spanish provinces to Barcelona and is caught up in mutinous antigovernment factions. Aub-who was born to German parents, brought up in Spain, then fled the country upon Franco's ascendancy-creates an intricate tapestry of Spanish society, beginning in the Aragon region near Valencia, where protagonist Rafael Lopez Serrador grows up on a farm. The boy becomes a jeweler's apprentice and embroils himself in an affair with an older widow before heading to Barcelona to seek his fortune in the spring of 1929. Here, the novel explodes with the sights and smells of the teeming Catalan city, where Serrador falls in with a left-wing crowd while sorting through his own politics. The violence begins to sicken and corrupt Serrador, and the novel closes to one day's paroxysm of mayhem that engulfs Barcelona. The first in a six-book series, this immersive narrative, fluidly translated, is accessible and gripping. (Sept.)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781844674008
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 9/7/2009
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 1,235,710
  • Product dimensions: 5.48 (w) x 7.98 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Max Aub (1903–72) was born in Paris to German parents and grew up in Spain, before escaping to France and then Mexico, where he lived from 1942 until his death. He wrote novels, plays and literary criticism, and founded the journal Los sesenta with the poets Jorge Guillén and Rafael Alberti.

Gerald Martin teaches literature at the University of Pittsburgh and is the author of, amongst other works, Journeys through the Labyrinth and Gabriel García Márquez: A Life.

Ronald Fraser is the leading oral historian of twentieth-century Spain. He is the author of several books, including In Hiding, In Search of a Past, Blood of Spain and Napoleon’s Cursed War.

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