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Field of Honour

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Field of Honour was written by Max Aub in exile in Paris, May to August 1939, and published in Mexico in 1943. Between the writing and the publication – the author’s internment by the French and deportation to a Concentration Camp in Algeria. Although a Spanish national, he was denounced as a ‘German Jew’ and as ‘a notorious communist and active revolutionary’. More could be said about the novel and its author: suppressed during the Franco period, the novel did not receive its due attention in Spain during the author’s life (he died in 1973). These facts I have gleaned from the book's introduction.
Field of Honour centres on the life of one Rafael L√≥pez Serrador, who grows up in the period between the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera, and the ill-fated Second Republic. Serrador leaves his small town for Barcelona, where he finds work and then education through a worker’s institute and his own wide-reading of everything from Spanish poetry to Tolstoy. Much of the novel consists of re…

Any Human Heart - A Novel

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The subtitle ‘a novel’ is included because William Boyd’s Any Human Heart is presented like a scholarly edition of the diaries of Logan Gonzago Montstuart, complete with introductions to each of the separate diaries that make up Montstuart’s life. Indeed, at the end of the book, listed works by Montstuart include ‘Any Human Heart: The Intimate Journals of Logan Montstuart’. One would wish this at least of Boyd’s memorable character: that his life should extend beyond mere mortal days (or Boyd’s rendition …). In other words, the effect of reading this book is that the character does indeed appear to have lived. That is a remarkable feat, even if it is the staple trick of any writer.
Leaving Boyd out of all this for the moment, then, Montstuart starts his diaries while in his last year at Abbeyhurst College, where he shares various challenges with his two (lifelong) friends, Peter Scabius and Benjamin Leeping. Like Montstuart, Scabius is bound for Oxford University and then a life of wr…

The 7th Function of Language

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