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(09/04/2008) The Fallen by Juan Marse. Boston. 1979. Little Brown. Translated From The Spanish By Helen R. Lane. keywords: Literature Translated Spain. 334 pages. Jacket design by Paul Bacon. 0316546763.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   'In fact those kids' fantastic stories had their roots in a much more fantastic world than the one their imaginations created. ' A bestseller in Spain when censorship was lifted after Franco's death, The Fallen has been hailed as the most important Spanish novel written since the Spanish Civil War It is also the first of Juan Marse's internationally acclaimed novels to appear in English. Set on the streets of postwar Barcelona, the center of anti-Francoist sentiment, The Fallen is a Goyaesque fresco of corrupted lives, seen through the eyes of a gang of streetwise slum kids. They congregate in an unused air raid shelter on the grounds of Las Animas Convent to invent and trade stories: about the tubercular whore who used to run the town orphanage and the wealthy widow who is searching for her; about the widow's crippled son who will pay good money to watch acts of brutal sexual degradation and the spirited orphan girl who ministers devotedly to his needs; about the 'Red' soldier who is hiding from the authorities and the assassination attempts on the disheartened, factionalized underground; about the secret sexual and political tortures being administered in the old church crypt; and about Java, the ragpicker's son, who is learning how to sell information and himself. Through the youngsters' imaginary scenarios - spun out of the future as much as from any past memory or half-glimpsed present 'reality' - Marse recreates the sordid, macabre world of Barcelona in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, a world fraught with violence and corruption, yet interlaced with the fragile threads of friendship and imagination. A wondrous, moving tale, THE FALLEN creates a tragic legend of the children's lives, the secret perversions of the 'respectable' Falangist middle classes, and the last desperate hopes of the anti-Francoist underground. A native of Barcelona, Spain, Juan Marse began publishing stories in literary magazines in 1958, while working as an apprentice in a jewelry factory He has subsequently written five novels while working as a laboratory assistant in the Pasteur Institute in Pads, a scriptwriter, translator, journalist, publicity editor, waiter, and editor-in-chief for the magazine For Favor. His highly acclaimed works have won the Premio Sesamo for short stories, the Premio Biblioteca Breve and the Premio Planeta, as well as the Premio Internacional de Novela 'Mexico,' which THE FALLEN was awarded when it was first published in 1973.

Currently writing full-time, Marse lives with his wife and two children in Barcelona.

Helen R. Lane has received both NBA and PEN awards for her translations. She lives in France.

 

 

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