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Uncertain Glory
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New York Review Books 2017
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Description
A KIRKUS REVIEWS BEST BOOK OF 2017
A classic Catalan work about love, family, and class during the Spanish Civil war.

Spain, 1937. Posted to the Aragonese front, Lieutenant Lluís Ruscalleda eschews the drunken antics of his comrades and goes in search of intrigue. But the lady of Castel de Olivo—a beautiful widow with a shadowy past—puts a high price on her affections. In Barcelona, Trini Milmany struggles to raise Lluís’s son on her own, letters from the front her only solace. With bombs falling as fast as the city’s morale, she leaves to spend the winter with Lluís’s brigade on a quiet section of the line. But even on “dead” fronts the guns do not stay silent for long. Trini’s decision will put her family’s fate in the hands of Juli Soleràs, an old friend and a traitor of easy conscience, a philosopher-cynic locked in an eternal struggle with himself.
Joan Sales, a combatant in the Spanish Civil War, distilled his experiences into a timeless story of thwarted love, lost youth, and crushed illusions. A thrilling epic that has drawn comparison with the work of Dostoyevsky and Stendhal, Uncertain Glory is a homegrown counterpart to classics such as Homage to Catalonia and For Whom the Bell Tolls.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
10/10/2017
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781681371818
ASIN:
B01N6RCU9F
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Joan Sales. (2017). Uncertain Glory. New York Review Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Joan Sales. 2017. Uncertain Glory. New York Review Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Joan Sales, Uncertain Glory. New York Review Books, 2017.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Joan Sales. Uncertain Glory. New York Review Books, 2017.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 18:24:03
Date Updated:
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      • role: Author
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      • bioText: Joan Sales (1912–1983) was born in Barcelona to a Catalan family. In 1932, he earned a law degree from the University of Barcelona and in 1933 married Maria Núria Folch. Their daughter, Núria, was born the following year. At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, Sales, who was a member of several regional anarchist and Communist groups, fought for the Republican government on the Madrid and Aragonese fronts before going into exile in France in 1939. He moved to Dominica in 1940, then Mexico in 1942, finally returning to Catalonia in 1948. In 1955 he co-founded the publishing house Club Editor, where he would edit and publish some of the most important authors of twentieth-century Catalan literature, among them Màrius Torres and Mercè Rodoreda, as well as his own work, including a book of poems, Viatge d’un moribund (1952); a collection of letters from his wartime and exile experiences, Cartes a Màrius Torres (1976); and a Catalan translation of The Brothers Karamazov. He died in Barcelona.
        Peter Bush is an award-winning translator who lives in Oxford. Among his recent translations are Josep Pla’s The Gray Notebook, which won the 2014 Ramon Llull Prize for Literary Translation, and Ramón del Valle-Inclán’s Tyrant Banderas (both for NYRB Classics); Emili Teixidor’s Black Bread, Jorge Carrión’s Bookshops, and Prudenci Beltrana’s Josafat.
        Juan Goytisolo (1931–2017) was born in Barcelona and was the author of many novels, including Marks of Identity, Count Julian, Juan the Landless, and The Garden of Secrets, as well as two volumes of autobiography.
      • name: Joan Sales
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NYRB Classics
publishDate
2017-10-10T00:00:00-04:00
isOwnedByCollections
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title
Uncertain Glory
fullDescription
A KIRKUS REVIEWS BEST BOOK OF 2017
A classic Catalan work about love, family, and class during the Spanish Civil war.

Spain, 1937. Posted to the Aragonese front, Lieutenant Lluís Ruscalleda eschews the drunken antics of his comrades and goes in search of intrigue. But the lady of Castel de Olivo—a beautiful widow with a shadowy past—puts a high price on her affections. In Barcelona, Trini Milmany struggles to raise Lluís’s son on her own, letters from the front her only solace. With bombs falling as fast as the city’s morale, she leaves to spend the winter with Lluís’s brigade on a quiet section of the line. But even on “dead” fronts the guns do not stay silent for long. Trini’s decision will put her family’s fate in the hands of Juli Soleràs, an old friend and a traitor of easy conscience, a philosopher-cynic locked in an eternal struggle with himself.
Joan Sales, a combatant in the Spanish Civil War, distilled his experiences into a timeless story of thwarted love, lost youth, and crushed illusions. A thrilling epic that has drawn comparison with the work of Dostoyevsky and Stendhal, Uncertain Glory is a homegrown counterpart to classics such as Homage to Catalonia and For Whom the Bell Tolls.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: History Today
      • content: "In this bravura novel of the Spanish Civil War 1936–39, Catalan author Joan Sales evokes its messy, devastating lived reality, but even more memorably the intense feeling of being alive which war paradoxically produces...at the novel's core is a group of young 'voices', brilliantly rendered, as they rage to live."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus, starred review
      • content: "Catalan writer Sales tells a multilayered story of loves, faith, friendships, and ideals tested by the Spanish Civil War in this novel banned by Franco's censors, then published in 1956 after the author's return from exile....Philosophical and earthy, tragic and funny, honest, raw, superb: Sales makes Hemingway seem thin, even anemic, in comparison. This book is a rich and highly recommended feast."
      • premium: False
      • source: Maya Jaggi, The Guardian
      • content: "Magnificent...Peter Bush and MacLehose Press have done a great service in reviving this Catalan classic."
      • premium: False
      • source: Michael Eaude, Literary Review
      • content: "Wonderfully readable...Uncertain Glory is a major novel that expresses the disillusion of a generation who fought a just war against fascism, but lost their idealism and youth."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from August 14, 2017
        A Catalan novel banned in Franco’s Spain when it was first published in 1956, this enthralling work—translated into English for the first time—focuses on four young Catalonians struggling with faith and faithfulness during the Spanish Civil War. The narrative includes two epistolary sections set in 1937, as well as a recollection of the events 20 years later. The first part comprises letters from Lluis, a romantic, somewhat callous fighter in an anarchist brigade who woos the scheming widow of an executed nobleman while ignoring the woman he left behind, Trini, the mother of his child. Trini, in turn, unburdens herself in a series of letters to the couple’s mutual friend Soleràs, an eccentric and eminently quotable intellectual who “steal from soldiers on the front line to give to whores on the rearguard.” The third narrator is Cruells (whose section is the only non-epistolary one), a young medical adjutant with dreams of becoming a priest. Troubled yet fascinated by Soleràs’s mesmerizing, blasphemous philosophizing, he develops a fraught relationship with Trini as well. These subtly drawn love triangles emerge against the backdrop of a country divided, in an era that “has preferred to slash the veils that cover birth and death, the obscene and the macabre.” Apparitions, lurid dreams, and disinterred mummies litter the novel, lending it a hallucinatory quality that pairs perfectly with the darkly comic depictions of wartime absurdity.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from August 1, 2017
        Catalan writer Sales tells a multilayered story of loves, faith, friendships, and ideals tested by the Spanish Civil War in this novel banned by Franco's censors, then published in 1956 after the author's return from exile.Former school friends Lt. Lluis Ruscalleda and Juli Soleras are reunited in a republican brigade on the Aragon front, fighting "for hygiene and culture" against the fascist forces. In a sacked monastery, Lluis salvages books and searches for a missing certificate for the mysterious lady of the castle. When tins of condensed milk go missing, Soleras brags of stealing "from soldiers on the front line to give to whores in the rearguard." Sales draws on his own experience in a similar brigade, fighting for Catalan independence; he brings a new perspective to the civil war and writes with authority about "half-burnt bread" and "the sad, obscene songs the recruits sang." But it is the compelling depth of the varied, complex, human characters that shows his true mastery. Lluis wonders, "Which part of us must remain unchangeable? Are we so sure it's more valuable than the part that leaves us at every moment? Or are we entirely ghostlike, clouds whose single hope is to live a moment of glory, one solitary moment, and then vanish?" In Barcelona, Trini Milmany, a geologist and mother of Lluis' son, considers "what the success of these winners represents in terms of geology--less perhaps than that of a mosquito from the Carboniferous Age." The glorious possibility of a Catalan republic devolves into what one disillusioned anarchist calls this "sinister revolutionary carnival," adding, "Our ideals were so beautiful...when nobody had tried to put them into practice!" Amid the horror, the thirst for glory persists: "We have acted like men and we've acted like wild beasts...how can anyone now ever become a notary?" There are moments of transcendent beauty: a castle imagined as "a frigate of stone, people and animals all on board, all sailing together in this huge ship that seems still but is moving across the ocean of time"; a character walking through a town's snow-covered ruins as if "wading through the remnants of a shipwreck." And of humor: "The worst side to wars is the fact they're turned into novels," Soleras complains. "Foreigners will turn this huge mess into stirring stories of bullfighters and gypsies." Philosophical and earthy, tragic and funny, honest, raw, superb: Sales makes Hemingway seem thin, even anemic, in comparison. This book is a rich and highly recommended feast.

        COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

popularity
126
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shortDescription
A KIRKUS REVIEWS BEST BOOK OF 2017
A classic Catalan work about love, family, and class during the Spanish Civil war.

Spain, 1937. Posted to the Aragonese front, Lieutenant Lluís Ruscalleda eschews the drunken antics of his comrades and goes in search of intrigue. But the lady of Castel de Olivo—a beautiful widow with a shadowy past—puts a high price on her affections. In Barcelona, Trini Milmany struggles to raise Lluís’s son on her own, letters from the front her only solace. With bombs falling as fast as the city’s morale, she leaves to spend the winter with Lluís’s brigade on a quiet section of the line. But even on “dead” fronts the guns do not stay silent for long. Trini’s decision will put her family’s fate in the hands of Juli Soleràs, an old friend and a traitor of easy conscience, a philosopher-cynic locked in an eternal struggle with himself.
Joan...
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