Publisher: Dedalus Ltd (August 15, 2005)
During the Spanish Civil War, the River Jarama was the scene of a bloody, month-long battle which ended in a stalemate. There the Republicans suffered 25,000 casualties and the Nationalists 20,000. In this novel, set nearly twenty years later, the Jarama has become a favourite picnic spot for escaping the city heat. The novel describes one hot day in August when various groups from Madrid–young and old, married and single–go to the river to swim, picnic and relax. During the day they talk, flirt, get drunk, argue and, mostly, make their peace. Through seemingly innocuous conversations, the author achieves a captivating realism as he subtly introduces symbolist intimations of Civil War battles and the death that lies upon the land. Social realism, written in 1955 under Franco’s regime, The River subtly hints at the unresolved conflicts of the past, with tiny, specific details unfurling into vistas of grief and deprivation.