Cry, Mother Spain
By Lydie Salvayre
A powerful account of the early days of the Spanish Civil War, seen through the eyes of a young girl.
In the summer of 1936, Montse is fifteen years old and her country is on the brink of civil war. Her tiny village in the North East of Spain is a world away from the tensions beginning to overspill in other parts of the country, but when her brother José returns after a period working in the nearest town, brimming with revolutionary enthusiasm, Montse is captivated. Swept away by the fervour of the revolution, caught between love, family and honour, her sheltered life will be abruptly changed forever.
Years later, her memory failing, she tells her daughter about this one dazzling summer, and as she listens to her mother's story, her daughter reads the shattering anti-Franco pamphlet, Les Grands Cimetières sous la lune by the right-wing novelist George Bernanos. Revolted by the brutality of the Franco regime, and unable to forgive the sickening complicity of the Catholic Church, Bernanos's writings struck a blow at the heart of the pro-fascist forces and brought down a hefty price upon his head.
Powerful and devastating, Cry, Mother Spain fuses two very different experiences of one horrific conflict, making up a complex tapestry of love, faith and revolution. A searing, personal account with a relevance that resonates like a manifesto for modern times.
Lydie Salvayre is a former psychiatrist, who grew up near Toulouse after her exiled republican parents fled Franco's regime. As a child she spoke Spanish, only learning French after starting school. She studied medicine and specialised as a psychiatrist in Marseille, before beginning to write at the end of the 70's, with her first works appearing in literary reviews in Aix-en-Provence and Marseille around the beginning of the 1980's. Her novel La Compagnie des spectres won the Prix Novembre in 1997 and was named Book of the Year by Lire. Pas Pleurer won the Prix Goncourt in 2014.
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- Publication date:
16 Jun 2016
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Lydie Salvayre orchestrates her story like a true maestro — Jéròme Garcin, BibliObs
The great originality of this novel ... is the blending of the universal and personal experiences of the Spanish Civil War — Sebastian Lapaque, Figaro
A turbulent, magnificent novel that shines a new light on the Spanish Civil War. It resonates with the power of a manifesto for modern times — François Busnel, Express
Lydie Salvayre has cultivated a resounding anger... Cry, Mother Spain is the novel and the tribute of an impassioned voice — Philippe Lançon, Libération
Lydie Salvayre creates a dynamic harmony in a language that elevates grit, heroism and beauty — Jean Birnbaum, Le Monde
A magnificent novel. A brilliantly written family saga and a mesmerising study of memory and historical reconstruction — Fran G. Matute, El Mundo
Lydie Salvayre has written a novel about the Spanish Civil War unlike any other. Her approach gives her story an astonishing power and a unique perspective — Mercedes Monmay, ABC Cultural
A seriously important novel ... The novel Pasolini would have written had he been the son of Spanish exiles — Josep Lambies, Time Out Barcelona