Monday, 25 August 2008

Winter in Madrid

I have just finished reading C.J. Sansom's Winter in Madrid(Macmillan, London, 2006). I must say that I am not impressed.

I found disappointing the author's flawed grasp of the Spanish language. The novel contains a few sentences in Spanish with the apparent purpose of showing the writer's understanding of Spain, a romantic, misterious place for an English-speaking mind. However, several of those sentences have spelling or semantic errors which made me wince. One would think that good knowledge of the language was fundamental to help someone become an expert in a country's history. Obviously Sansom is simply a writer and doesn't need to speak fluent Spanish to set one of his stories in Spain, but at least he should have tried and get a Spanish native speaker to proof-read his book.

The novel is freighted with the author's anti-Franco opinions and not even a Historical Note at the end of the novel is free from Sansom's personal ideas on the Spanish 20th century. That's fair enough, the book being his child with no intention of being an equitable encyclopedic text. However, pseudo-historic novels are very popular these days and quickly create opinions in their readers, most of which wouldn't access an academical or historic essay on the novel's background, via their emotional and seldom unbiased account of the stories.

History was reality and reality often goes beyond imagination.

Love and freedom.

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