While I am generally not a fan of fiction, I often find myself gravitating towards novels that have a “radical” undercurrent in them or that take place within revolutionary periods. It was for this reason that I picked up Sender’s a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0929587294?ie=UTF8&tag=medmou-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0929587294″>Seven Red Sundays, a novel written in 1936 during the revolutionary upheaval in Spain and the Spanish Civil War.
The subject of the novel is a group of revolutionaries in Madrid who are affiliated with the FAI (a Spanish anarchist organization) and what happens after a seven-day period. The upheaval begins with the murder of their comrades at a syndicalist meeting, followed by a general strike that throws the countries into a chaos–a situation in which it is unclear as to whether or not there will be a revolution or if things will return to normal. During this period, the characters engage in various tactics including sabotage and distribution of literature, all while working towards the goal of a libertarian (anarchist) Spain.
The book does an excellent job of capturing the revolutionary spirit of Spain and the periods of euphoric hope and despair that often accompany revolutionary periods. There are passages that are intensely beautiful in the novel, but there are also many that are rather bland, although this could be a conscious effort by the author to capture both the hopes and disappointments of revolutionary periods. While this novel is by no means bad, and indeed has a rather innovative writing and narrative style for the time, I think that George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia is a much better work for those that are searching for a fictional treatment of the revolutionary Spain.
Ramon J. Sender, Seven Red Sundays, (Elephent Paperback, 1990).