Sunday, 21 August 2011


After Goya has received a 3-star review over at Goodreads.

I'm really very pleased - the Goodreads community is mainly made up of sincere, dedicated readers - who better to ask for an honest opinion?

And, I'm pleased too because the three-star rating tempers the four and five-star reviews - hopefully causing potential buyers to be less cynically inclined to think that the reviews are too good to be true. 

The reviewer makes some insightful observations, especially with regard to the political background:

" ... the amount of organisations. I'm sure if I was more up on my history I would have been able to cope with this with more ease, but I did at times get confused about who was part of what and the various different causes and what they stood for." 

The preface to Antony Beevor's excellent The Battle for Spain gives a partial list of thirty-eight political parties and groupings, plus a list of acronyms of more political, military and intelligence organisations active during the conflict. The title of Gerald Brenan's account of the war, The Spanish Labyrinth, reinforces the perception of the splintered nature of dissent.

In After Goya I tried to get this across - and challenge the convenient reductionism of Franco's bloc and Soviet Communist inspired opposition, viz. good versus evil, fascism versus socialism, monarchism versus republicanism, nationalism versus federalism - without labouring the point.

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