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«We Had Won the War»

Translated with an Introduction by Barbara F. Ichiishi


Barbara F. Ichiishi

We Had Won the War (Habíamos ganado la Guerra) is the bestselling 2008 memoir about life in post-Civil War Barcelona by the acclaimed Spanish author Esther Tusquets. Unlike the majority of Spanish postwar narratives that are written from the perspective of those who lost the Civil War and suffered under the Franco regime, Tusquets’ account recreates the era from the standpoint of the «winners.» As the offspring of an upper-middle-class Catalonian family who had sided with Franco in the armed conflict, the young Esther grew up as a privileged member of Spanish society, enjoying all the advantages that birth and material affluence could afford. The child’s initial enchantment with the glittering, sheltered world of her kin soon turns to disillusionment, as she discerns the fault lines running through the larger social landscape, and senses the hypocrisy and cruelty of her parents’ inbred clan. She finds in the inner world of literature and of the imagination compensation for a disturbing outer reality. As the growing girl struggles to find her own way, she experiments with political and religious movements that aim to forge a more just society. Her quest eventually leads to the rejection of all absolutist forms of thought and action, and to the assumption of her life’s calling as a publisher and writer. The book paints a vivid picture of life during the early Franco years, while offering an intimate, revealing look at the childhood and adolescence of one of Spain’s most remarkable contemporary authors.