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قلم النجار

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  2,013 ratings  ·  226 reviews
في سجن سنتياغو دي كومبوستيلا (اسبانيا)، في صيف عام 1936، هناك رسام يرسم بوابة كاتدرائية المدينة بقلم نجار، ولكنه بدلاً من وجوه الأنبياء والقديسيين المنحوتة من الحجر في البوابة، يرسم وجوه رفاقه في السجن. في هذه الرواية، يمسك ريفاس مرة أخرى بخيط التراجيديا الإسبانية، في الحرب الأهلية التي هزت العالم وكانت معلماً بارزاً في القرن العشرين. ولكن قلم النجار ليست مجرد رواية أخرى ...more
Paperback, 158 pages
Published 2004 by نينوى (first published 1998)
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Average rating 3.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,013 ratings  ·  226 reviews


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Kinga
Jun 25, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: random, pub-1998
This book was written in Galician but I read its Spanish translation. Now, Spanish is my third language, so God knows how much was lost in this game of Chinese whispers but I will try to tell you what I gathered from it in English, my second language.
Sometimes I couldn’t make any sense of it – it might be because of the aforementioned Chinese whispers or it might because it’s one of those intentionally confusing books with a very convoluted narrative.

The tagline for this book is: Can a pencil
...more
Bjorn
Jul 14, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: galicia, spain
A story about two men - a Francoist jailer and a Republican prisoner-of-war - and one woman (and one ghost) set in and around the Spanish civil war. Avoids the obvious traps of either becoming a maudlin love triangle or an angry political novel, thanks both to Rivas' almost-too-poetic prose and the central idea: The story is, for the most part, narrated by the one who'd ordinarily be the bad guy - Herbal, the man who fought for Franco, who became a jailer and an executioner ridding the fascists ...more
Louise Clarkson
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just loved it. The prose is amazing. I found it to be a beautiful read. It tells the most amazing story and the effect of the core love affair on those surrounding it.

It is very unusual in the way the story is told. You jump from different perspectives. You have to realise that each perspective shows us something the other could not. It really shows us what life was like at the time in those places. How the different factions of society at the time in that place thought and behaved. It shows
...more
mim
One day I will write a proper review of this book. Until then I will huddle in bed, languishing in agony. Possibly forever.

Filed Under: Overwhelming Feelings I Most Certainly Did Not Need.
Joanna
Jan 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short, thoughtful, dreamlike, often poetic telling of a chapter of the Spanish Civil War.

The book is centred on one main character, although we see him through the eyes of others, and through different periods of time (often in memory, and re-telling to others). Sometimes it was a little hard to work out the detail of what was being told (who was saying something, and whether an event was past or present) although that too adds to the sense of dreaminess, and poetry woven in and through the
...more
Zeynep
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I came across with this book at Daunt Bookshop in London. A random choice.
An interesting storytelling for a not so new story. There are many books about love, passion, obsession at war but this one gives you the impression as if it is unique.

It was difficult to pick up and get the order of the book but I liked it. It kept me engaged.
The quotes I liked:

Pg:5
Doctor Da Barca smiled thoughtfully. Then he said, “The only good thing about borders are the secret crossings. It’s incredible the effect
...more
Ahmad
Nov 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know. But somewhere between 3-4 stars so far.

This is one of the weirdest and most complex books I've read. It is in parts symbolic, historical, romantic, and human. It is not one story, but quite a few woven together in a weird narrative that somehow, despite its short length, gives birth to a complex novella that seems as good as any full-length novel. It is bigger than its mere 150+ pages. And as any magical realism work of fiction, this will put your brain to work!

However, this was a
...more
Elle
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Probably my only complaint about this novel is that it's too short. Happily, there are several other translations from Manuel Rivas' novels, so there's always more. Having read "In the Wilderness," I was prepared to love it, and my expectations were surpassed. As it is a short novel, it's very good the beginning grabs you as it does. From the first page, the ambiance draws the reader to the scene of 1936, during the Spanish Civil War. It's painful and sad, but also very sweet. Don't miss it: it ...more
Jack Storey
An intense, schizophrenic look into the tragic life of a Republican doctor who was imprisoned during the Francoist Regime. The constant shift of narrator and their perspective was initially very disorientating and continues to be throughout the entire novel, but it does reveal many that would otherwise remain unknown to the reader. Herbal is an serves as an interesting self-sabotaging character who is noticeably pained by his conflicting desire to punish but also to protect the doctor.
SARAH
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
not bad i prefer Malraux.His novel about injustice affairs is better then Rivas.his character is incomplete i cant understand him.except Erbal.
Thomas Hatton
Dec 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stunningly gorgeous passages, prose like poetry, and an incredibly moving story to boot. Love this book.
Samuele Fossati
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Upon seeing the reviews for this book on this website I was actually thoroughly surprised. I absolutely loved this book, and expected everyone else here to say the same. Upon further inspection though, I see that this is mainly a translation issue.

Now, I read the book in Spanish, which is my first language, and while the book was originally written in Galician (gallego), it is true that it is easy enough for a fluent Spanish speaker to make out the meaning of a text in Galician. My point here is
...more
Brenda
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to read this before walking the last 100 miles of the Camino de Santiago...as it is by a Galician author. The book includes a part with characters in prison, very much like a place we visited in Leon that had been a prison during Spain's Civil War.

The pencil "speaks" to the guard of: "the colours of snow, the scythe of the paintbrush on the green silence of the meadows, ...a lantern breaking through the night mist" (p. 72)

I liked the image of the washerwomen hanging out
...more
Susan Hamilton
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Carpenter’s Pencil is a multilayered book which requires the reader’s full attention. It is not a difficult read in terms of the language, which is often beautiful and poetic, even when describing horrific events. The more difficult part of the reading is picking up the nuances in the details: for example, it took me a minute to realize the relationship between the ghost and the pencil. I had to reread a section to pick that up.

I did not know a lot about the Spanish Civil War and later the
...more
Ana-Maria
This was not a light reading, because the pain of war, prison, inhumanity and lives ripped apart is really making this short book look denser that it is. The characters are memorable and there is a lot of emotion associated with every gesture. Not too many dialogues, but still the narration is dynamic and the perspective changes quickly. Apparently, It is a story about love that manages to find a way, against all odds, and in a way it is a happy ending story, but the melancholy of the entire ...more
Liz
Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written tale that explores the small minutiae of particular human experiences and relationships, against the vast and largely unspoken backdrop of the Spanish Civil War. A somewhat elusive story that rewards attentiveness and is likely best appreciated read in a single sitting.


"We live in communism if, and in proportion to how much, we love each other."

"...memories are like engrams... they're like scars in your head."
Fiona
Feb 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know this has gone through a couple of translations, but I was totally lost for most of the book. Some individual tales really grabbed me but then, all too soon I'd not got a clue what was going on.
Now I'm hoping someone in my book club will be able to shed some light as to why this is apparently awesome....
Barbara Mascarenas
This book was recommended to me by an editor friend of mine when I asked if he knew of a book that would challenge me with rich vocabulary and also give me some insight into Galicia and gallegos. This book is well written with an element of magical realism, with imagery from Galicia and a window into life in post Civil War Spain. I read it in Spanish, but it has been translated into English.
Chloe C.
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
wondering how much got lost in translation
Geoff
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing novel of the Spanish Civil War. Gorgeous writing. Wonderfully plotted. Fabulous characters.
Zoe Brooks
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: magic-realism
I have a fellow member of the Magic Realism Books Facebook group to thank for introducing me to Manuel Rivas and this book in particular. So thank you, Ekaterina Volkova, you have introduced me to a writer whose work I will now search out. On the basis of this book alone Manuel Rivas has become one of my favourite authors. As I read The Carpenter's Pencil I was reminded of Andrei Makine, whose work , although not magic realism, has the same poetry and humanity.

This is a sublimely beautiful book
...more
Paul
Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Completing my Spanish themed quartet, The Carpenters Pencil took me back to where I started with Jason’Webster’s Guerra, the Spanish civil war.

Herbal recounts the early months of the war, when his life seemed inextricably linked to that of Dr Daniel da Barca, an inmate at a prison in Santiago de Compostela. While fiddling with a carpenters pencil he kept after shooting it’s owner, Herbal tells a tale of two men, of the war, and through both of them, a beautiful love story that saves one of the
...more
James
Aug 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Manuel Rivas's short novel, The Carpenter's Pencil, tells the story of Dr. Daniel Da Barca, who twice miraculously escapes death in front of the firing squad only to be given life imprisonment, a sentence that is later commuted. However the principal narrator is Herbal, the guard who escorts Da Barca during his various incarcerations. The third major character is Marisa Mallo, whose marriage by proxy to the doctor is ultimately consummated with Herbal's assistance. Ironically, the ubiquitous
...more
Bernhardina Hörnstein
I liked this one, but I believe it could have been a better book if it had ended with a closure instead of just cutting of the story at the very last moment, as if it was never really finished. Some authors tend to do this and get away with it, Emily Brontë springs to mind, but Rivas couldn't. Which is a shame, because Carpenter's Pencil is beautifully written and captures the 1930's in a way that feels authentic and very emotional.

It is the story of the people of Spain during the Civil War,
...more
Quinn Slobodian
This book confirmed a suspicion that I've had for a while: that it would be pretty easy to love a righteous, wrongly-imprisoned revolutionary. The setting for the novel is the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s - the same reservoir of ethical clarity previously plumbed by Orwell, Hemingway and, recently, Guillermo del Toro. One of the interesting aspects of del Toro's film Pan's Labyrinth was that it allowed us to see the "grown-up" political formations and crises through the eyes of a child, ...more
George
Sep 25, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who can read Galician
Recommended to George by: The Shadow of the Wind
I picked up this book on the recommendation at the end of my edition of The Shadow of the Wind expecting to be enthralled in a story set in the Spanish Civil War. I was severely disappointed.

Perhaps it is the translation that is at fault, though I struggle to believe that is the main reason I didn't enjoy the novel. About a Doctor imprisoned by the Nationalists for his Republican sympathies the book never really gets going, it is never able to capture the reader and drag him into a world that he
...more
Kate Yoder
Jun 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd been feeling guilty about not knowing much about the Spanish Civil War, so when I saw this book on my WWOOF host's shelf, I knew I should read it. The quote on the front cover read, "I learnt more about the Spanish Civil War from The Carpenter's Pencil... than from any history book I've ever read."

The novella was not a history book. It was dreamlike, poetic, philosophical, tangential, symbolic, and brutal. The prose jumped around between different temporal settings and characters' voices
...more
Sarah
Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Carpenter's Pencil is set during The Spanish Civil War and is largely narrated by one of the central protagonists Herbal, once a prison guard, now a stand over man in a brothel. He tells his story to Maria, one of the prostitutes in the brothel and to whom he bequeathes the carpenter's pencil at the end of the novel. In its essence, the plot centres around the intertwined lives of Herbal, Daniel De Barca a doctor and Republican political activist on whom Herbal has informed and now stands ...more
Jana
Jul 15, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, south
I use to have a blog where I didn't use complicated sentences. I used to write minimalistic as possible, exact to a point. This book reminded me of my blog, and then I was reminded why I quit writing it – because you have to master those concise and precise thoughts. You have to be really wit and funny enough for your visitors to return and reply – because if you wanted to be anonymous in your dwellings, blogging wouldn’t be your first choice. Moleskine would.

Sometimes you had to be self
...more
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Manuel Rivas Barrós (born 24 October 1957 in A Coruña, Spain) is a Galician writer, poet and journalist.

Manuel Rivas Barrós began his writing career at the age of 15. He has written articles and literature essays for Spanish newspapers and television stations like Televisión de Galicia, El Ideal Gallego, La Voz de Galicia, El País, and was the sub-editor of Diario 16 in Galicia. He was a founding
...more
“الموتى الذين لا يموتون يكونون مصدر إزعاج” 6 likes
“La justicia pertenece al campo de las fuerzas del alma. Y por eso puede brotar en los lugares menos propicios, pues cuando la llamamos, allí acude, a veces con la venda en los ojos pero alenta al oído, desde no se sabe muy bien dónde, como una cosa anterior a jueces y acusados, incluso a las propias leyes escritas” 2 likes
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