Honrarás a tu padre y a tu madre

Honour Thy Father and Thy Mother | Anagrama, 2018

“My name is Cristina and I have set off in search of my forefathers. On foot. I seek the dead so as not to have to kill myself. To live? I’m not sure. To summon them, to speak with the dead.”

The protagonist of this book, who not by chance bears the same name as the author, sets out on a physical and emotional journey in search of the secrets of her family’s past and her own identity. Cristina’s search will lead her to unearth the stories of several generations, to discover disappearances, escapes and deaths, wounds that never healed. One of the heavier silences shrouding her past concerns certain events during the Spanish Civil War: a firing squad in Zaragoza, a man who died in another man’s place, a Mexican sublieutenant who witnessed that barbaric act, two people from opposing sides who came together in the post-war years… But as she probes the family secrets, she is led much further astray and to other times, to the twenties, the war in Africa, Mexico, women trouble, children raised in a boarding school…

This fascinating book, a one-of-a-kind, falls midway between fiction and non-fiction, in which fiction helps shed light, lifting the lid on the shadowy regions the protagonist cannot access with her investigations, the written documents she comes across and the eyewitness accounts she hears.

Fallarás offers a narrative that goes far beyond the hackneyed Civil War clichés and which, drawing on small stories, depicts the political and sociological evolution of a country. This is a novel that houses many novels, a family saga concerning real events that appear worthy of fiction and an investigation in which fiction helps shed light on reality. A work that speaks of betrayal, disillusionment and violence, but also of decency, resistance and hope.