More Almudena Grandes

I’m still reading the horrible new Almudena Grandes. The subject of this endless novel is an effort to find and bring to justice the Nazis who had committed war crimes during the Holocaust and managed to evade justice after the defeat of Germany.

I’m on page 600, and so far there has been a single Jewish character in the novel who has been given a few lines. Unsurprisingly, he’s dishonest, scheming, and willing to risk absolutely nothing to avenge his slaughtered family. All of the hard work and the terrible risk of hunting down the escaped Nazis falls on the brave Spaniards and Spanish-speaking Americans. This makes a lot of sense within the framework that the novel has proposed: since Jews allowed themselves to be exterminated without as much as a whispered protest, it stands to reason that they would do nothing after the end of the war. It’s just the way they are in this novel, passive and kind of sleazy.

Leaving the anti-Semitic aspects of the novel aside, it really drags out. The brave Republican protagonists are sexual deviants and very boring fellows. They change their aliases every couple of pages and it’s impossible to figure out who’s who 600 pages in.

In short – although nothing is ever short in this very long-winded book – Lord have mercy on me and make this novel end sooner rather than later.

I’m overdue for a good reading experience at this point.

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2 thoughts on “More Almudena Grandes”

  1. “since Jews allowed themselves to be exterminated without as much as a whispered protest”

    Is this a Spanish speaking thing? I’m reminded of some book you mentioned where the author is kind of contemptuous of women in Chile who broke under torture (the assumption being, I guess, that they should gladly endure any torture for the glory of the revolution?)

    On the whole Spanish speakers I’ve known are capable of wonderful empathy but… occasionally it just up and disappears and I’m all ‘what? where did it go?’

    Now that I think about it, sympathy is reserved for those who couldn’t have predicted or prevented (or at least struggled against) their victimization. If it seems a person is lacking in one of those areas then its ‘su propia culpa’…

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    1. The whole series is an ode to the Spanish Republicans who lost the war and then lost the resistance and then lost the Transition. So her contempt for victims is selective.

      I have no idea where this is coming from because she never went in this direction before.

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