Life under Franco, According to Zafón

Finally, we come to my conclusion. I’m going to keep it brief, a task that I have failed to complete in my previous posts, but I don’t want to get too into depth with my analysis or I’ll go off the deep end. I’ve got to save something for my actual paper, dudes.

Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s novel is a thrilling mystery. It’s worth the read if you’ve never even heard of Spain before, let alone Franco and the falangists, but with a certain amount of background information the novel becomes even more relevant. Daniel Sempere searches for the truth about a novelist in the oppressive atmosphere of Francoist Spain. He is pursued by a villain intent on burning the entire collection of this author’s works. This bears a striking similarity to the reality of Francoist legislation, where only pre-approved books and movies could be published.

The effects of the Civil War are also evident on the characters of Zafón’s novel. Clara Barceló’s father was imprisoned and killed in the castle of Montjuic. The personable homeless man Fermín is literally and mentally scarred from his encounters in a Francoist prison. A gay acquaintance of the Sempere family faces the threat of persecution from the government.

In short, Zafón portrays life under Franco in post-war Barcelona as a place of censorship and fear, filled with shadows and doubts. Without explicitly detailing the legislation of the time, he communicates the oppressiveness of living under such strict regulations.

Well kids, it’s been fun. I would highly recommend that you read this novel. It’s seriously fantastic and I’ll be putting the finishing touches on my paper in the days to come so if you’re interested, let’s chat!

Chao guapos!