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The Carpenter's Pencil

by Manuel Rivas

The Spanish Civil War is the setting for this strange and poetic love story; Dr Daniel Da Barca, a Republican, is imprisoned by Franco's troops and separated from his lover, Marisa Mollo. Rivas creates a feeling of optimism in the darkest of places by the humour and humanity of his characters; even the prison guard, Herbal, guilty of torture and murder, is given a conscience in the form of the painter he killed - a tiny ghost who sits astride the carpenter's pencil above his ear.

Extract

Dusk, for some reason, was when the painter preferred to visit the guard Herbal's head. He would alight on his ear with firm gentleness, with one leg on either side, like the carpenter's pencil.
Translated by Jonathan

Parallels

If This is a Man by Primo Levi
The Wall by Jean-Paul Sartre
 

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