By Manuel Rivas
On August 19, 1936 Hercules the boxer stands at the quayside at Coruña and watches Fascist squaddies piling up books and atmosphere them alight. it's a second which transforms a tender team of pals, who simply weeks earlier than had spent their days sunbathing underneath the lighthouse, right into a damaged generation.
Out of this incident in the course of the early months of Spain's tragic civil warfare, Manuel Rivas weaves a colorful tapestry of reports and unforgettable characters to create a landscape of twentieth-century Spanish background. For it's not simply the lives of Hercules the boxer and his neighbors which are tainted by means of the endless clash, but in addition these of a tender washerwoman who sees souls within the clouded river water and the stammering son of a pass judgement on who uncovers his father's hidden library.
As the singed pages fly away at the breeze, their tales live to tell the tale within the minds in their readers.
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Extra info for Books Burn Badly
Je veux toucher la sérénité d'un doigt mouillé de larmes. » « Pourquoi cette balance qui oscillait dans l'obscurité d'un trou plein de boulets de charbon ? » « Ne pas alourdir ses pensées du poids de ses souliers. » « Je savais tout, j'ai tant cherché à lire dans mes ruisseaux de larmes. » Nadja a inventé pour moi une fleur merveilleuse : « la Fleur des amants ». C'est au cours d'un déjeuner à la campagne que cette fleur lui apparut et que je la vis avec une grande inhabileté essayer de la reproduire.
Il lui faisait narrer dans tous ses détails l'emploi de sa journée, approuvait ce qu'il jugeait bon, blâmait le reste. Et toujours ensuite une gêne physique localisée dans la tête l'empêchait de refaire ce qu'il avait dû lui interdire. Cet homme, perdu dans sa barbe blanche, qui a voulu qu'elle ignorât tout de lui, lui fait l'effet d'un roi. Partout où elle est entrée avec lui, il lui a semblé que sur son passage un mouvement d'attention très respectueuse se produisait. Pourtant, depuis lors, elle l'a revu un soir, sur le banc d'une station de métro, et l'a trouvé très las, très négligé, très vieilli.
Sans doute un employé de chemin de fer, qui n'a eu aucune peine à venir là, de l'impériale du wagon voisin. À la station suivante, comme Nadja se tient à la portière et que je suis de l'œil, à travers la vitre, la silhouette des voyageurs, un homme seul, avant de sortir de la gare, lui envoie un baiser. Un second agit de même, un troisième. Elle reçoit avec complaisance et gratitude ces sortes d'hommages. Ils ne lui manquent jamais et elle paraît y tenir beaucoup. Au Vésinet, toutes lumières éteintes, impossible de se faire ouvrir aucune porte.