Book Notes: Lidia Falcón’s The Children of Those Who Lost

What happens when your side loses the biggest political conflict of your country’s history? What do you do if the winners establish an authoritarian regime where you aren’t allowed to express your beliefs, read your books, or teach your values to your children? Do you conform and watch your children be brainwashed with the lies that deny everything you hold dear? Or do you resist, knowing that you are dooming your kids to being pariahs in their own country?

Lidia Falcón’s family was on the losing side of the Spanish Civil War. The men of the family were killed or exiled, but Lidia’s grandmother, mother, and aunt made heroic efforts to raise Lidia in the spirit of resistance to the stultifying, anti-intellectual, and repressive environment of the dictatorship. And yes, the words “resistance” and “fascism” have been emptied of all meaning in English but this was was actual resistance to real fascism.

Lidia is now in her eighties. She fought against the dictatorship and later became a writer and a politician in the democratic Spain. Today, she’s waging a battle for true feminism and against the gender dogma of the radical left. Lidia’s conclusion is that, even in the most oppressive regime, you should definitely raise your children to know the truth and uphold the values of true liberalism. She’s very grateful to her family for not allowing the dictatorship to conquer her young brain.

The story is far more complicated than that, though. Lidia’s aunt and cousins had to leave the country and go into exile. Her mother, whom Lidia loved with great intensity, committed suicide because she couldn’t bear seeing her daughter jailed by the dictatorship.

There are no easy answers in this book, which is what makes it great. If there are any fellow Hispanists reading this post, I highly recommend this book for college courses on the postwar Spain. It’s so much better than Carmen Martín Gaite’s work. You truly get a feeling of the misery, the horror, the hunger, and the idiocy of the postwar years from Falcón’s writing. Compared to Falcón, Martín Gaite is so bourgeois, and I hate this word but I don’t know how else to put it. Falcón writes about people who celebrated a boiled potato as a great feast, not about the idiotic chicas topolino and their inane concerns.

Falcón also hates Carmen Laforet’s writing and simply eviscerates all of the literary idols of the 1940s. It’s so good. Highly, highly, highly recommend the book.

6 thoughts on “Book Notes: Lidia Falcón’s The Children of Those Who Lost”

      1. Darn, it sounds interesting, and I looked but could only find one English translation, of one of her other books. Are there any English-language books about the Spanish revolution and post-revolution, that you’d recommend?

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  1. After the party she founded in 1975 was expelled from Izquierda Unida recently (https://www.eldiario.es/politica/falcon-partido-feminista-iu-franquistas_1_1115319.html), she is now being investigated by the Criminal Court in Barcelona for a supposed hate crime… https://www.elsaltodiario.com/feminismos/fiscalia-barcelona-lidia-falcon-delito-odio-plataforma-trans-generem
    That an historic opponent of Franquismo should be called a Fascist by supposedly left-wing activists is not ironic, it’s pathetic. Still, I love the fact that she will never bow down: “Si. Somos muy poco sumisas. Ni al patriarcado, ni al capital, ni a los trans, ni a los proxenetas, ni a los puteros. Un grano en el culo para cualquier machuno vestido de progre.” And also, “Hoy descanso, AGOTADA. Entre el patriarcado hetero, el patriarcado gay, el patriarcado trans, los proxenetas y los punteros, no he parado de intentar iluminar tanta gente que sólo se mueve por la pasta.
    Hoy descanso, pero mañana más y mejor.”
    I was in the Gay Lib movement in England from 1979 to 1990 but now I no longer consider myself gay, just homosexual. I was pushed around, spitted on, got my head cracked but my spirit is still unbroken, just like Lidia Falcon and countless other women and men who fought for a fair deal. These pseudo Leftist activists are the Fascists of our time, have no doubt about it: I’ve seen them before, I recognize their faces, like the pigs at the end of Orwell’s Animal Farm.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is absolutely mind boggling to me. This is almost literally the left eating itself; they are suddenly attacking left-wing idols who made it possible for them to exercise the same rights that they currently trample on. All for what? To give the appearance of standing up for something important? I just don’t get it, sure trans people should be afforded the same rights as everyone else (and they do), but they are numerically such an insignificant group of people that it has be be about something else. I definitely agree that this is about achieving control. If they really cared about having a positive impact on the world they would focus on real issues.

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      1. Trans rights ARE real issues for these activists. No, what am I saying, they are the last frontier of all human rights. In this warped ideology trans people are THE victim par excellence, to be worshiped on the high altar of victimhood. The millions of people being exploited in the West and around the world by the same system that is aiding and abetting them in their resistible march through Western institutions right and left simply disappears from view. Do not look at their mouths when they are speaking, look at their hands [i.e. their resume-boosting activities, book deals and lucrative contracts with private and public administrations alike].

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