Requiem For a Spanish Peasant

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Ramon Sender was born in Huesca in the North of Spain in 1902. He was a journalist and writer. The novel was first published in Mexico under the title "Mosén Millan" in 1953 and got its current name – Requiem for a Spanish Peasant – since 1960. The motive that the book was first published in Mexico was due to the censorship in Spain during those years. (wikipedia)

They say that the bible is literature and therefore open to interpretation. In the same line of reasoning it seams logical that there are so many branches in (Christian) religion as each has its own interpretation of the sacred word.
For the summary of this book I would turn this completely up-side-down: as this novel is also literature, the story can be interpreted in many ways, yet a certain fact can only be interpreted in a single way without ambiguity: and that is the role the (defenders of) the church played in the Spanish civil war.

The novel offers a serene and quiet sequence of events of which the real civil war seems absent. Instead of explicitly showing the atrocities of the civil war the story focuses on the action of a single man, the protagonist of the story. Only when following his actions the reader learns why this war is called a "civil war." The protagonist in question is a parish priest.

The title of the book – Requiem for a Spanish peasant – reiter to the mass the priest is preparing a year after the death of the peasant. When preparing the mass, the reader is served with a short biography of the peasant, leading to a climax of his death.

The form in which the novel is written is also quite unique; on one hand it follows a simple sequence of flashbacks or even a sequential countdown to the climax as if the damage could not be prevented. And the story is mixed with the singing contributions of the altar-boy, who gives his own view on the events in between the story told by the narrator and priest.

Als the characters on the background of the story help to give depth to the novel. The mother, Jeronima, of the peasant for instance, pleas when a young doctor enters their house:
"I can tell what they miss by the way they are showing off."
Egypt:
"Both kids and animals are fond of those who like them."

And then the book is interesting as an object of understanding the Spanish culture. I would argue that a lot of what is written in the novel continues today; differences between peasant and landowners but then in a modern terminology … as is the church in Spain: still very present in the daily life.

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Source by Hans Bool

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