Snippet: Rafael Reig’s “Fallen Tree”

Rafael Reig, Un árbol caído [A fallen tree], 2015.

Publisher’s summary:

In 1979, a group of friendly families, gathered in the social club El Tomillar [the thyme plot], comment on the return of an old acquaintance, Luis Lamana, who will upset the residential area’s life. They all know each other because they were member of parties that fought the Franco regime, and because some of them were in the same cell. 25 years later, the son of one of them, Julián, Johnny to his friends, sets out to reconstruct what became of them, of their children, and of their successful later professional careers, some of them party affiliates, others working for big companies or trying out a literary career. While he narrates the families’ and their children’s destinies, Julián wants to understand a lot of dark spots: who betrayed his mother and others in the 1960s, why did Lamana return precisely that year, how did those moments of expectancy and aparent happiness of 1979 break down, and why haven’t he and his friends managed to find their place in the world.

In his inquiry, Julián is also threshing a game of chess that he found written down in a notebook, a game that one spring afternoon of that year was played by Alejandro Urrutia and Pablo Poveda. As a metaphor of the decisions, triumphs, defeats of a group of friends, maybe of a country.

A critic’s comments:

A revision of Spain’s recent past by a writer with a willingness to transgress. A convoluted plot and a display of wit.

[Before the background of well-known events of recent Spanish history] we witness the encounter and disagreement of two generations within a convoluted plot with characters that appear and disappear in an endless chain of relationships.

[…] there is an impressive internal coherence and a chronologically limited structure, from 1962 to 2003, […]

J.A. Masoliver Ródenas, La Vanguardia

Some biographical information on the author from the publisher.

SOURCE: Tusquets; “Cultura/s,” La Vanguardia, March 21, 2015, p. 10 [printed edition]

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