Sepharad
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Sepharad

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  237 ratings  ·  36 reviews
En estas páginas Primo Levi, Franz Kafka, Evgenia Ginzburg, Milena Jesenska, Dolores Ibárruri o Walter Benjamin mezclan sus tragedias con las de personajes ficticios. Todos ellos comparten un estigma: un día despiertan convertidos en lo que otros cuentan de ellos, en lo que alguien que no les ha conocido cuenta que le han contado, en lo que alguien que les odia imagina que...more
ebook, 400 pages
Published August 4th 2008 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) (first published 2001)
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Erik Simon
Quite simply: a towering masterpiece of fiction that defies any description. Parts of it will stay with me for years.
Geoffrey Fox
Esta novela es la historia del viaje del autor desde su Úbeda natal a un concepto de España múchisimo más amplio en tiempo y espacio : en tiempo, desde 1492 y la expulsión de los judíos hasta nuestros días, y en el espacio, desde Úbeda hasta todos los países y todas las ciudades donde hay o han habido gente que conservaba una llave, unas canciones, un apellido o algún otro recuerdo de ese país de que fueron expulsados sus ancestros y que ellos llamaban "Sefarad". Cada capítulo es otra aventura,...more
Elaine
A revelation...lapidary new insight into so many of my own intellectual and emotional obsessions, both an intimate portrait of mourning, the loss of youth, growing up, travel, and the trains taken and untaken, and a history of the 20th century and beyond. Most reminded me of reading Proust.
Elise
"Sepharad" is one of the most beautifully written books I have read in a *long* time--most refreshing for a reader who loves language and history. My only problem with this book is that it was billed as a novel. Those looking for a linear tale of suspense that takes place in single setting will be disappointed in this book. This is not a page-turner, but it is worth the work. It reads more like a collection of prose poems linked by characters that appear, disappear, and reappear, mirroring their...more
Robert Wechsler
It took me a while to figure out this novel, but what kept me interested throughout was the excellent storytelling, the excellent voices of the narrators, and the way Molina keeps you off-balance with changing person, voice, and story.

What does hold the various stories together is the way they all show the effects of totalitarianism on individuals, real and invented. A lot is about exile and self-imposed exile, even exile while still living in one’s homeland. There is a lot of nostalgia, confusi...more
Paul Harris
This is certainly an arresting and intriguing book, though its billing as 'a novel' is misleading. Rather, it is a loosely-themed collection of sketches, essays and stories. The author writes very beautifully, though I must confess that his habit of obscuring the identity and gender of the narrator was a little disconcerting. Perhaps that is intentional, as one theme running through the 17 chapters is that of uncertainty and dispossesion. This is essentially a book about the lives of the disappe...more
Dara Salley
Sepharad doesn’t really have a plot. It’s more like a series of essays on a theme. The theme, as I can best sum it up, is Diaspora. Molina focuses on the displacement of Spanish people during World War II and the Cold War. He weaves together stories of unknown citizens with those of famous authors who were affected by some of the traumatic events that occurred in 20th century Europe. He is constantly coming back to his theme and asking the reader, “How would you feel if you had to leave your hom...more
Psychophant
This is a very hard book to read. It deals mainly with alienation, yearning for a lost past/land, loss, and genocide. I had to take it in small doses or it can really pull you down, because although there are some glimmers of hope and joy, they are small and far between.

I have shelved it as short stories because this is not an usual novel. It is a series of almost-real and real stories, all dealing with the idea of the lost country, the one we left behind, whether it is childhood, youth, freedom...more
Donovan Richards
Origins

Since as early as the 2nd century, Spanish Jews have labeled the Iberian Peninsula – the land mass of Portugal and Spain – as “Sepharad.” To this day, Modern Hebrew still refers to Spain as “Sepharad.” For many, “Sepharad” is a word that signifies the culture of Spanish Jews.

In Antonio Muñoz Molina’s work, Sepharad, the author details the consequences of World War II on this population. Put simply, the holocaust acted not only as a heinous genocide, but also as a divider. In the horror of...more
Alexander Veee
"Without your knowledge, other people usurp stories or fragments from your life, episodes you think you've kept in a sealed chamber of your memory and yet are told by people you may not even know, people who have heard them and repeat them, modify them, adapt them according to their whim or how carefully they listened, or for certain comic or slanderous effect. Somewhere, right this minute, someone is telling something very personal about me, something he witnessed years ago but that I probably...more
Linda
"The great night of Europe is shot through with long, sinister trains, with convoys of cattle and freight cars with boarded up windows moving very slowly toward barren, wintry, snow- or mud-covered expanses encircled by barbed wire and guard towers."

"I don't believe it's true what they say, that as you travel you become a different person. What happens is that you grow lighter, you shed your obligations and your past, just as you reduce everything you possess to the few items you need for your l...more
K
I tried. If I had a shelf for, is-it-just-me-or-does-the-emperor-have-no-clothes, this would be on it. It got great reviews from all the snobby publications, and I simply couldn't make heads or tails of it. I didn't get any sense of a novel, and I never quite learned who the narrator (narrators?) was. It felt like each chapter was meant to be its own short story, but within each of those, several different tales were being told in an almost stream-of-consciousness way. One minute we're Catholic...more
Ariadna73
Sefarad : una novela de novelas Es un compendio de cuentos (o novelas como el autor quiere llamarlos) sobre diferentes personajes y situaciones. Al principio me gustaron mucho porque me recordaban a Proust o a Marias en el sentido de que elaboraban un momt��n en una idea; pero de todos modos no perdian el hilo conductor y era muy satisfactorio llegar a la comprensi��n total del relato. Poco despu��s los cuentos se hicieron m��s sombr��os y tristes; tratando de diferentes aspectos de la guerra; l...more
Carolinecarver
I'm one hundred pages into this and it is not easy. But his idea of travel appeals to me, and the images from the train and glimpses of life are compelling. Not a traditional novel, more like short stories and stream-of-consciousness, but whose? This is a book club selection; I need some questions to focus on because I am not sure what I am looking for. It is thought-provoking and the characters convey the feeling of loss and absurdity brought on by totalitarian regimes quite well. It leaves the...more
Mara
Haunting, beautiful, and melancholy. Sepharad is a novel of interwoven short stories that explore themes of homeland, exile within and across borders, nostalgia, travel, the Holocaust, tradition and modernity through the experiences of historical figures and fictional characters: Franz Kafka, Primo Levi, Jean Améry, Eugenia Ginzburg, the Sephardic diaspora, Spanish communists in Soviet Russia, deracinated Andalusians in Madrid. A tour de force that tells the novels of all those who live out of p...more
Dan Petegorsky
I didn’t find this nearly as compelling as it might have been, largely because the narrative style just wasn’t to my taste. There is so little dialogue in the novellas, so little that takes place in the time or place in which it occurred. Most consist of reflections on reminiscences of distant events and frequently unnamed characters. No doubt this displacement reflects the sense of diaspora Molina wishes to convey, but it had the effect of distancing me from the characters as well.
Marja
It's difficult to find a good translation of anything, but with this one I felt the translation was not why it took me so long. The novel is written in an overly breathtaken way, and after an enthusiastic beginning, the wind went out of my sails, because the style of writing irked me at times. The good thing is, it's the kind of novel you can read in bits and pieces, as it shifts from one story to another with no tangible plot line to unravel, and clear, recurrent themes.
susan
I just started reading this book. I loved reading the writer's musings about travel and what travel teaches us. The comments about travel and especially train travel resonated deeply with me. I was filled with longing for the city of Madrid after reading only a few pages. I think the writing style is what most appeals to me. It is not difficult for me to read the Spanish, although the stories skip around at random, a lot like how my brain works.
Brigette
One of the best novels I have ever read. The writing is absolutely gorgeous, intelligent, often melancholy, at times erotic, and with a keen sense of history. It's a large canvas he's working with--the diaspora of Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain. Much of the focus, though, is on the tumultuous first half of the 20th century--specifically the Russian revolution, World War II, and Spain. The way he weaves time is simultaneously hypnotic and stimulating.
Pierre Fortier
Série de vignettes qui sous la forme de monologues racontent une portion d'histoire de juifs expatriés. Dense et exigeant, Molina multiplient les insertions et exigent de nous d'avoir beaucoup de souffle puisque ces phrases très longues nous laissent sans repos. Chaque mot est important. chaque phrase est ciselée dans l'état d'âme, la description et la psychologie. Morose, souvant poignant parfois ennuyant.
Bbjoe
Sep 28, 2007 Bbjoe rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: everyone
I gave this a full 5 stars only because I can't give it 6. One of the best books I've read hands down. I think the best way to experience this book is not know what to expect. I will say that it took me a while to understand and link things together; I was a little lost at first, but when it clicked - Wham!

Andrés Santiago
Una obra magistral, muy dura, como son los temas que trata: el holocausto, las purgas comunistas, la guerra civil española, el exilio... Imprescindible como llamada de atención contra la intolerancia, el racismo y el egoismo generalizado... Me ha costado quitármela de la cabeza. Imprescindible lectura
Robert  Finlay
A demanding novel, with hypnotic prose, skipping from accounts of life in Madrid, Kafka on a train to meet his girlfriend, Jews on trains to camps, Russians on trains to the Gulag, refugees on trains everywhere, everyone else waiting for their own train. Sounds depressing but really is not.
Mary Morris
I like the writing and really enjoyed the first chapter or so but I am hungry for story and some sense of where it is going. I'm not sure why it is called a novel, but I know that both Nicole Krause and my internist love this book so I am going to presevere.
Rachaelbg Bertos Haviland
I'm putting this one on hold for a little while- I just can't get into it. I keep putting it down, forgetting about it, then re-reading the first chapter to remember the character's etc. It's one I want to read, though, so I'll try again in a few weeks.
Leah
So far, what a gorgeous book--"una novela de novelas" is the subtitle, and true. I recommend to anyone who has pondered what we lose, leave behind and/ or take with us when we travel through time and space.
Jody Brackman
A truly brilliant account of many diasporas. It meanders from country to country and time period to time period, and enen country to country. A moving, depressing, very educational book. A MUSt ReAD
Liz DeCoster
I realize this book had great potential, but I just had too hard of a time adapting to the changes in narrator/perspective. This is one that I may try again another time, see if I can't get more into it then.
Y
This is a series of short stories rather than a single novel-type narrative, which I was not quite expecting given the book jacket blurb! The writing is pretty gorgeous though.
Trish
I loved the narrative(s) and prose of this book, but its disjointed story telling didn't work with my reading style right now. I will come back
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Antonio Muñoz Molina is a Spanish writer and, since 8 June 1995, a full member of the Royal Spanish Academy. He currently resides in New York City, United States. In 2004-2005 he served as the director of the Instituto Cervantes of New York.
He was born in the town of Úbeda in Jaén province.
He studied art history at the University of Granada and journalism in Madrid. He began writing in the 1980s a...more
More about Antonio Muñoz Molina...
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