Tuesday, 4 May 2010



In the same way that there are pictures that go straight to your heart, the same happens with some books and with some specific phrases within them.

One of these books is Soldiers of Salamis by Javier Cercas that, incidentally, has as a cover a Robert Capa’s photo. Cercas's book was a bestseller largely due to the from mouth- to- ear phenomenon. The same Mario Vargas Llosa said that the last 8 pages were among the best he had ever read in a novel. In addition to the great pleasure I’ve experimented reading his novels if, as in Fahrenheit 451 , I had to choose only one book to save from destruction , this would be Vargas Llosa's The War of the End of the World, to me the contemporary Iliad, which I reread with the same pleasure every two or three years. Turning to the Soldiers of Salamin final's splendid pages (I totally agree with Vargas Llosa) there is a phrase that sparked me very deeply. When the protagonist meets Miralles, the old communist, he tells Cercas how all his young friends died in the war and says: Since the end of the war I haven’t spent a single day without thinking of them. They all died so young.... Dead. Dead. Everyone. None tasted the good things of life: none had only one woman for him, none knew the wonder of having a child and that his son, with three or four years, tucks up in the bed between him and his wife, a Sunday morning in a room with lots of sun ... I have lived this experience, and Cercas is right: it is one of the important things in life that every man or woman should have lived. But, apart from my own experiences, I had seen that image somewhere else. I stirred my library and I found it: is a photo taken by Eugene Richards, one of the greatest world photographers and the author of books as shocking as Cocaine True, Cocaine Blue or Americans We, but who has also represented, in another language, the so very special moment described by Javier Cercas.

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