by. Joan Sales,. Peter Bush Joan Sales fought on the Madrid and Aragon fronts before fleeing into exile. . “pobra canícula, també la seva glòria és incerta. Uncertain Glory (in Catalan Incerta glòria) is a novel from the Catalan-language writer and editor Joan Sales, first published in September and extended in . Joan Sales i Vallès (Barcelona, November 19, – November 12, ) was a Catalan Since its imprint, el Club Editor, he will offer to the public his work Uncertain glory (“Incerta glòria”), that do not appeared in definitive edition until

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Notwithstanding the cynic’s jibe, the “huge mess” of is familiar to English-speaking readers largely through Orwell and Hemingway.

Seen through Spanish eyes, Uncertain Glory — originally published in and now available in Peter Bush’s superb English translation — was the first Catalan novel to depict the civil war saels the defeated, republican side. Banned then mutilated by Franco’s censors for its “heretical ideas” and “obscene language”, it appeared, heavily revised, in this inceeta version in Yet Joan Sales, who fought for the republicans in the Aragon trenches he portrays and died inundercuts sides and causes, good and evil.

As Juan Goytisolo ], the exile who championed the novel in the s, writes in an introduction, it gives no ground to “glib partisan flag-waving” in its grief at the absurd “procession sals blood, death and injustice”. The title evokes the doomed Spanish republic, proclaimed in Aprilthrough Shakespeare’s “uncertain glory of an April day” in the precarious “spring of love”.


With three characters enamoured of the same woman, the thwarting of youthful passions against the backdrop of the war makes for an undertow of disillusionment — and a riveting yloria. The protagonists are former student friends from Barcelona and a brother in arms, all drawn to anarchism.

Uncertain Glory review – Catalan classic of the Spanish civil war

In epistolary form, The protagonists are former student friends from Barcelona and a brother in arms, all drawn to anarchism. The final part is the retrospective wartime memoir of Cruells, a medical adjutant and would-be priest of the slums, who aspires to saving the couple’s informal marriage but has his own crisis of faith. Where Orwell encountered rats, Sales notes “battalions and brigades of flies”.

Drawing metaphors from putrefying donkeys and a mule’s festering sores, this realist novel also juggles with ideas, from existentialism to pacifism, Spinoza to Stendhal the author translated Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov into Catalan.

Uncertain Glory by Joan Sales (1 star ratings)

There are shafts of humour. Some of the sharpest satire joam reserved for the “revolutionary carnival”, as Barcelona’s well-to-do hide in exaggerated proletarian garb.

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Meanwhile, in a curtain raiser for the s, anarchist “free vloria is exposed as yet another pretext for unscrupulous men to leave women holding the baby. Writing under Franco, when battle lines were drawn in blood, Sales blurs them.

Antifascists burn churches and beat priests to death, hardening support for Franco among their victims. Trini’s belated baptism is partly protest against the murder of priests. Only Llibert, Trini’s opportunistic brother and chief republican propagandist, is in his element. Shrugging off the lack of diphtheria serum for a sick child, Llibert plays God, dismissing the “tiny tragedies” of little children.

You and I won’t. In a polyphonic novel whose voices are operatic the pompous Llibert is a “sonorous baritone”Bush conjures deftly with a range of registers, from the archaic dropped aitches of the Aragonese rustics to the prim eloquence of the seminarian.

He and MacLehose Press have done a great service in reviving this Catalan classic. Order by newest oldest recommendations. Show 25 25 50 All. Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded. Loading comments… Trouble loading?