The bent Spain – Zenda

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Between the darkness of the era of Primo de Rivera’s dictatorship and that – even darker – of Franco, this work takes place, in the darkthe new novel by Antonio Iturbe (Zaragoza, 1967). The feeling of there being very few occasions and spaces for the development of freedom, music, art, is imposed at the end of the reading. The moments in which one is master of oneself, in which there is no oppression in the environment, are so rare that it is advisable to take advantage of them, if only to be able to stay and live in them thanks to memory. This book is about social and historical memory, which responds to the same intentions as projects by other contemporary authors, such as Ignacio Martínez de Pisón or Alfons Cervera, which is to remind us that history is not what textbooks tell, but what people, our people, have experienced. What matters most to Iturbe is the human factor.

«The band watches him expel the first wisp of smoke with that ancient fear of bowed Spain.

“Touch,” he tells them without raising his voice.

It will be faith in harmony, also in that of the human being, that sustains our protagonist in a place where until now a type of life that has overwhelmed people has been imposed.

The one who gives the order is the mayor, the chief, whom the cowed and clumsy musicians see as the envoy who imposes the whims of the gods. But between 1930 and 1936 there will be a series of changes that will allow the tailor, who is the director of the music band of a small town, to reach the most sacred: earn the respect of the people, that is, sow friendship. The task will not be easy. Iturbe has created a novel based on a small true story, that of a clarinetist who shows that no sowing is in the bucket.. And this is a difficult terrain, in which the inhabitants are God-fearing people, which in another author would lead to an encounter between enlightenment and barbarism, but in Iturbe, which does not hide this bad luck, it does not place it as a priority. : In the book we read, rather, an encounter without discrepancy between kindness and obstinacy. It is not so much about showing a confrontation as about paving a path through music, which is as much as saying about harmony.. It will be faith in harmony, also in that of the human being, that sustains our protagonist in a place where until now a type of life has been imposed that has overwhelmed people, that has bent their backs.

Perhaps it could be said that the novel could have gained intensity by losing pages, but the author’s intentions are to linger to create atmosphere, setting, environment.

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Iturbe takes us to a time in which there are not so many records about how people lived, spoke, and behaved, although there are enough about political movements that affected history, the philology of history. It will be a period of changes that at some point will stop being in the background of life in the small town to which it takes us, to become almost the protagonist.. The transformations are evident, as it will be, as we noted above, to return to the dark moments from which we came. Iturbe helps us get there thanks to the recovery of words that are no longer in use, and a simple language that generates the precise atmosphere. Perhaps it could be said that the novel could have gained intensity by losing pages, but the author’s intentions are to linger to create atmosphere, setting, environment. In this work, what is necessary for the representation is as important as the representation itself.. Although the priority will be, we say it again, humanity, those people who are doing the impossible to prevent the world from passing over them.

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Author: Antonio Iturbe. Qualification: Music in the dark. Editorial: Six Barral. Sale: All your books.

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