The Valley of the Fallen

Carlos Rojas; Translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman

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March 20, 2018
312 pages, 5 x 7 3/4
ISBN: 9780300217964
Hardcover

Acclaimed translator Edith Grossman brings to English-language readers Rojas’s imaginative vision of Francisco de Goya and the reverberations of his art in Fascist Spain

This historical novel by one of Spain’s most celebrated authors weaves a tale of disparate time periods: the early years of the nineteenth century, when Francisco de Goya was at the height of his artistic career, and the final years of Generalissimo Franco’s Fascist rule in the 1970s. Rojas re-creates the nineteenth-century corridors of power and portrays the relationship between Goya and King Fernando VII, a despot bent on establishing a cruel regime after Spain’s War of Independence. Goya obliges the king’s request for a portrait, but his depiction not only fails to flatter but reflects a terrible darkness and grotesqueness. More than a century later, transcending conventional time, Goya observes Franco’s body lying in state and experiences again a dark and monstrous despair.
 
Rojas's work is a dazzling tour de force, a unique combination of narrative invention and art historical expertise that only he could have brought to the page.

Carlos Rojas is an award-winning novelist, art historian, and creator of visual works of art. He is also Charles Howard Candler Professor of Spanish Emeritus at Emory University. He lives in Atlanta. Edith Grossman has received an array of awards for her translations by authors including Gabriel García Márquez, Carlos Fuentes, and Miguel de Cervantes.

"El ingenioso hidalgo y poeta Federico García Lorca asciende a los Infiernos, awarded the Premio Nadal, presents a vision of Lorca’s ‘dream of reason’ that evokes real and imaginary visions of the poet’s death at the hands of a Fascist death squad in 1936. This journey through Lorca and C.R.’s involuntary memory brings to life figures, landscapes and events that frame the preamble to the Spanish Civil War. Edith Grossman’s masterful and impeccable translation preserves and enhances the voice of Carlos Rojas’s magical prose."–Pedro F. Campa, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (on The Ingenious Gentleman and Poet Federico Garcia Lorca Ascends to Hell)

 

“The richness of Rojas’s writing isn’t random creativity; it’s rooted in a deep and insightful knowledge of his subject, making the book exceptional.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Mr. Rojas includes a number of shrewd homages to his subject, from echoes of poems to the kind of story-within-a-story structures that Lorca used in his dramas. But more important, this moving tribute cuts to the heart of the dichotomy of the poet's troubled immortality.” —Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

“In Carlos Rojas' splendid and wildly creative novel, The Ingenious Gentleman and Poet Federico Garcia Lorca Ascends to Hell, the dead writer watches his last, fateful days replayed in a private theater in the underworld. . . as intelligent and audacious a meditation on art, fate and mortality as anyone could hope to read.” —Hector Tobar, Los Angeles Times

"Mixing the grotesque and the tragic in the tradition of Cervantes, Goya, or Valle-Inclán, Carlos Rojas has crafted an astonishing phantasmagoria on Lorca’s death and imaginary afterlife. Edith Grossman’s pitch-perfect translation beautifully conveys the narrative force of Rojas’s original text."—Carlos Feal, SUNY at Buffalo (on The Ingenious Gentleman and Poet Federico Garcia Lorca Ascends to Hell)

 
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