Took me over a month to finish this book – I looked for whatever pretext to read something else (poetry, theater, short stories, zombie books, anything) ’cause by reading this at times I wanted to vomit. Fictionalized biography, huh? How the F can you put in a frigging book thoughts that Robert Capa was thinking the moment he stepped on an anti-infantry land mine, that David Seymour thought while he awaited execution by the Egyptian death squad etc? And how the F did she know the way Capa usually screamed while he was having an orgasm? He died before she was born!
Actually, despite the name, it’s not a book about Robert Capa – it is about Gerda Taro, his girlfriend in the times of Spanish civil war, who died in the battlefield – and not in an easy way. A big funeral in Paris, and all the world press wrote about it – good summary below. Oh, not in an easy way. But I guess I could’ve learnt all that just in wiki.
The first two thirds of his book are as follows: c-r-a-p, worst book ever. Cheap sensationalism and bad (imho) writing. The last third got better, mostly due to less romance (brrrr) and more civil war stuff.
Overall – don’t read the Spanish original, don’t read the newly issued English translation. When a writer permits herself cheap sensationalism like this, I want to scream.
“Capa no lo sabía, pero allí le esperaba la foto de su vida. Una imagen que lo haría famoso, que daría la vuelta al mundo en las portadas de las principales revistas, que se convertiría en un auténtico icono del siglo XX.”
“Fue entonces cuando Capa supo, con la certidumbre seca de una revelación, que no sería capaz de soportar la vida sin ella.”
PS: too bad I have a habit of trying to read novels till the end, it’s a truly gruesome task sometimes.
Now, what a strange book. A first I thought I’m gonna give it up entirely – but after long and boring part 2, I guess I got an acquired taste.
Just to explain – part 2 is about living shoes. Thoughts and pains and ramblings of shoes and subsequently legs separated from the bodies – and later, people dying of fear by just looking under the bed, hints that thoughts may kill (or not?) and that certain things repeat themselves.
Part 3 I loved – dynamic enough for me – and part 4 I suffered through, just to see where it ends. Page 207.
Strange book, by all accounts – however, it gave a name to this blog, huh – people steal, well, I stole
As usual for his works, Mendoza adds a spy novel angle to its tale – it’s full of action and mystery – but don’t be fooled – it’s a not a story of fake Velazquez and spies from Lubyanka – it is one about popular revolt hanging in the air, both communist and fascist – coupled with Mendoza’s love for Spain and Madrid in particular. Quite amusing indeed – te pegas al libro y ya…
Reminded me of La Comedia Ligera – rather than Mauricio – though, I have to say, I poorly remember both