A classic Catalan work about love, family, and class during the Spanish Civil war.
Spain, 1937. Posted to the Aragonese front, Lieutenant Lluís Ruscalleda eschews the drunken antics of his comrades and goes in search of intrigue. But the lady of Castel de Olivo—a beautiful widow with a shadowy past—puts a high price on her affections. In Barcelona, Trini Milmany struggles to raise Lluís’s son on her own, letters from the front her only solace. With bombs falling as fast as the city’s morale, she leaves to spend the winter with Lluís’s brigade on a quiet section of the line. But even on “dead” fronts the guns do not stay silent for long. Trini’s decision will put her family’s fate in the hands of Juli Soleràs, an old friend and a traitor of easy conscience, a philosopher-cynic locked in an eternal struggle with himself.
Joan Sales, a combatant in the Spanish Civil War, distilled his experiences into a timeless story of thwarted love, lost youth, and crushed illusions. A thrilling epic that has drawn comparison with the work of Dostoyevsky and Stendhal, Uncertain Glory is a homegrown counterpart to classics such as Homage to Catalonia and For Whom the Bell Tolls.
About the Author
Joan Sales (1912–1983) was born in Barcelona to a Catalan family. In 1932, he earned a law degree from the University of Barcelona and in 1933 married Maria Núria Folch. Their daughter, Núria, was born the following year. At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, Sales, who was a member of several regional anarchist and Communist groups, fought for the Republican government on the Madrid and Aragonese fronts before going into exile in France in 1939. He moved to Dominica in 1940, then Mexico in 1942, finally returning to Catalonia in 1948. In 1955 he co-founded the publishing house Club Editor, where he would edit and publish some of the most important authors of twentieth-century Catalan literature, among them Màrius Torres and Mercè Rodoreda, as well as his own work, including a book of poems, Viatge d’un moribund (1952); a collection of letters from his wartime and exile experiences, Cartes a Màrius Torres (1976); and a Catalan translation of The Brothers Karamazov. He died in Barcelona.
Peter Bush is an award-winning translator who lives in Oxford. Among his recent translations are Josep Pla’s The Gray Notebook, which won the 2014 Ramon Llull Prize for Literary Translation, and Ramón del Valle-Inclán’s Tyrant Banderas (both for NYRB Classics); Emili Teixidor’s Black Bread, Jorge Carrión’s Bookshops, and Prudenci Beltrana’s Josafat.
Juan Goytisolo (1931–2017) was born in Barcelona and was the author of many novels, including Marks of Identity, Count Julian, Juan the Landless, and The Garden of Secrets, as well as two volumes of autobiography.
“A masterwork that will seduce anew with its passion, humour, pathos and the all too-human spats of anger.”—Eileen Battersby, The Irish Times
"In light of Catalonia’s current push for independence from Spain, the Catalan novelist Sales’s Uncertain Glory — originally published in 1956 — could not be timelier. Longings for separate nationhood have roiled the area for generations, and in this new translation Bush offers a fresh look at the region through the context of the Spanish Civil War, a conflict English readers may best know in literature through writers like Ernest Hemingway and Muriel Rukeyser.... a symphonic novel — full of philosophical, religious and literary meditations." —Lisa Russ Spaar, The New York Times Book Review "Apparitions, lurid dreams, and disinterred mummies litter the novel, lending it a hallucinatory quality that pairs perfectly with the darkly comic depictions of wartime absurdity." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“In this bravura novel of the Spanish Civil War 1936–39, Catalan author Joan Sales evokes its messy, devastating lived reality, but even more memorably the intense feeling of being alive which war paradoxically produces...at the novel’s core is a group of young ‘voices’, brilliantly rendered, as they rage to live.”—History Today
"Catalan writer Sales tells a multilayered story of loves, faith, friendships, and ideals tested by the Spanish Civil War in this novel banned by Franco's censors, then published in 1956 after the author's return from exile....Philosophical and earthy, tragic and funny, honest, raw, superb: Sales makes Hemingway seem thin, even anemic, in comparison. This book is a rich and highly recommended feast." —Kirkus, starred review
“Magnificent...Peter Bush and MacLehose Press have done a great service in reviving this Catalan classic.”—Maya Jaggi, The Guardian
“Wonderfully readable...Uncertain Glory isa major novel that expresses the disillusion of a generation who fought a just war against fascism, but lost their idealism and youth.”—Michael Eaude, Literary Review