Ramón J. Sender’s Requiem for a Spanish Peasant follows the story of two characters whose lives are inextricably intertwined. Paco, a local man from a country town, and Mosén Millán, the local priest.
As a child, Paco accompanied Millán in the church and on trips out to the caves where the homeless lived in order to give them their last sacraments. He notices that the people out there have nothing; neither food nor water, shelter, cleanliness. Nothing. He asks the priest why the people don’t do more to help those who have been abandoned.
In the midst of the Spanish Civil War, some men begin to invade the town and news reaches the town that the king has fled. People in town start to die, and the rich dukes who have been losing their lands to the poor and rebellious townsfolk get their lands back.
This story is about Paco, yes, but it’s all told through the lens of Mosén Millan’s memory. Mosén was there when Paco was born, received the first Communion, was married, and when he died. The story was an interesting view into what happens in a small town with no connection to the outside world, when something as big as a Revolution or a Civil War happens. I try to imagine what it would be like it there were no media, no Facebook, no blogs, no Twitter, and a massive insurrection and a Civil War in the United States.
Would we all be affected? Are there any of us who wouldn’t be affected at all?
I also realize that one of the problems that media brings to us is the possibility of something that is a very small deal being inflated until it actually explodes over our heads. (Buzzfeed has made it possible for ducks crossing the street to be on the same news page as a Supreme Court ruling that the President of the United States has violated the Constitution.) It has also made it possible for us to avoid oncoming dangers and threats.
Anyways, it was a good read. If you speak Spanish, I recommend it.