Mazurka for Two Dead Men by Camilo José Cela, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Mazurka for Two Dead Men

Mazurka for Two Dead Men

4.5 2
by Camilo José Cela
     
 

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In 1936, at the beginning of the war, 'Lionheart' Gamuzo is a abducted and killed. In 1939, when the war ends, his brother, Tanis Gamuzo avenges his death. For both these events, the blind accordion player Gaudencio plays the same mazurka. Set in a backward rural community in Galicia, Cela's creation is in many ways like a contrapuntal musical composition built with

Overview

In 1936, at the beginning of the war, 'Lionheart' Gamuzo is a abducted and killed. In 1939, when the war ends, his brother, Tanis Gamuzo avenges his death. For both these events, the blind accordion player Gaudencio plays the same mazurka. Set in a backward rural community in Galicia, Cela's creation is in many ways like a contrapuntal musical composition built with varying themes and moods. In alternately melancholy, humorous, lyrical or coarse tones, he portrays a reign of fools.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The Spanish Civil War intrudes almost casually on the characters' picaresque doings in Cela's amorphous, bawdy novel, first published in Spain in 1983. Set in the mountainous region of Galicia and redolent with the Spanish countryside's wild beauty and its inhabitants' folkways, the work depicts a gallery of sinners, fools and misfits in overlapping yarns that span several generations. The plot involves Lionheart Gamuzo, who was shot in the back in 1936, and his brother Tanis, who in 1940 avenges the death with trained killer dogs. The blind Gaudencio, who works as an accordionist in a whorehouse, plays the same mazurka to commemorate these deaths, framing a sprawling canvas peopled with an enormous Rabelaisian cast, including jazz musician Uncle Cleto, who vomits whenever he's bored; the widow Fina, who is fond of bedding priests; and Roque Gamuzo, who is famed for his colossal member. Winner of the 1989 Nobel Prize for literature, Cela ( The Family of Pascual Duarte ) garrulously conveys the impression that ``mankind is a hairy, gregarious beast, wearisome and devoted to miracles and happenings.'' The musical translation captures his lyricism and colloquial flavor. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Set in Galicia during the Spanish Civil War, this 1984 winner of the Spanish National Prize for Literature revolves around two murders, but the multiple narrative lines make reconstructing the exact chronology of events difficult. This fifth novel by the 1989 Nobel laureate to be translated into English recalls Cela's earlier efforts: the swarm of characters in The Hive (Farrar, 1990), the tremendista repugnance of The Family of Pascaal Duarte (Classic Returns, LJ 3/1/90), and the sexual obsessions of San Camilo, 1936 ( LJ 12/91). Though the novel is unified by the almost symphonic recurrence of epithets and of images like rain, the experimental fragmentation of the structure is devoid of any breaks and palls about 100 pages before the end. In addition, the colloquial speech often resists effective translation. For academic and larger public libraries.-- Lawrence Olszewski, OCLC, Dublin, Ohio
New York Times Books of the Century
...[A] fiendishly haunting story based on the simple premise that if you kill someone, sooner or later you will pay because the universe must be justified.
Miguel F. Ugarte
…if there is any Spanish novelist who deserves the Nobel Prize on the merit of narrative experimentation alone, it is without a doubt Camilo José Cela.
The Nation

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811212229
Publisher:
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
11/28/1992
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.65(w) x 8.23(h) x 1.13(d)

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Paul West
Cela is the Goya of Franco's Spain.

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Mazurka for Two Dead Men 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Camilo Jose Cela¿s works aren¿t generally for the masses--often Nobel Prize winners fall into this category!--but don¿t let his ¿literary success¿ frighten you. In ¿Mazurka for Two Dead Men,¿ Cela¿s powerful style (read in translation, of course) is moving, argumentative, sophisticated, sometimes subtle--sometimes not: in short, an adventure in literary appreciation at the same time being worthy of one¿s time. Set in 1936 at the onset of the Spanish Civil War, ¿Lionheart¿ Gamuzo is abducted and killed, thus setting off (to borrow from the Greeks) a blood-will-have-blood revenge story. Tony, his brother, knows that revenge is his. Cela is high in symbolism as in these events the blind accordian player Gaudencio continually plays the same mazurka--the book echos just about every musical symbol possible, with its themes, moods, movements, rhythms, melodies, and so forth. Symbolism, too, is not lost on the Spanish society Cela captures and the political, social, and religious overtones are not easily missed. Still, ¿Mazurka¿ is a worthy continuation of Cela¿s writing abilities. Granted, this one¿s not his best, but still is in keeping with Cela¿s l989 Nobel Prize winning style. While, quite likely, ¿something may be lost in translation,¿ still reading Cela, for me, is a pleasurable adventure.