By Joan Sales
Lost illusions, lost ideals, lost youth - the masterpiece of the Spanish Civil War.
Posted to the Aragonese front, Lieutenant Lluís Ruscalleda eschews the drunken antics of his comrades and goes in search of intrigue. But the lady of Castel de Olivo - a beautiful widow with a shadowy past - puts a high price on her affections.
In Barcelona, Trini Milmany struggles to raise Lluís' son on her own, letters from the front her only solace. With bombs falling as fast as the city's morale, she leaves to winter with Lluís' brigade on a quiet section of the line.
But even on 'dead' fronts the guns do not stay silent for long. Trini's decision will put her family's fate in the hands of Juli Soleràs, old friend and traitor of easy conscience, a philosopher-cynic locked in an eternal struggle with himself.
Joan Sales, a combatant in the civil war, distilled his experiences into a timeless story of thwarted love, lost youth and crushed illusions. A thrilling epic that has drawn comparison with the work of Dostoevsky and Stendhal, Uncertain Glory is a homegrown counterpart to classics such as Homage to Catalonia and For Whom the Bell Tolls.
Joan Sales (1912-1983) was a Catalan writer, translator and publisher. He obtained a Law degree in 1932 and was a member of regional anarchist and communist groups. In the Civil War he fought on the Madrid and Aragonese fronts before going into exile in France in 1939. He moved to Mexico in 1942, returning to Catalonia in 1948, after which he began working as a publisher. Uncertain Glory, his crucial testament, was first published in 1956, though a combination of censorship and Sales' tendency towards revision meant that a definitive edition was not available until many years later.
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- Publication date:
16 Jun 2016
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Magnificent . . . Peter Bush and MacLehose Press have done a great service in reviving this Catalan classic — Maya Jaggi, Guardian
Wonderfully readable . . . Uncertain Glory is a major novel that expresses the disillusion of a generation who fought a just war against fascism, but lost their idealism and youth — Michael Eaude, Literary Review
A masterwork that will seduce anew with its passion, humour, pathos and the all too-human spats of anger — Eileen Battersby, Irish Times
In this bravura novel of the Spanish Civil War 1936-39, Catalan author Joan Sales evokes its messy, devastating lived reality, but even more memorably the intense feeling of being alive which war paradoxically produces... at the novel's core is a group of young 'voices', brilliantly rendered, as they rage to live — History Today
Philosophical and earthy, tragic and funny, honest, raw, superb: Sales makes Hemingway seem thin, even anemic, in comparison. This book is a rich and highly recommended feast. — Kirkus (Best Fiction of 2017)