Max Aub: Campo francés [French Camp]


The latest addition to my website is Max Aub‘s Campo francés [French Camp]. This is the fourth in Max Aub’s six volume Civil War series, El laberinto mágico (The Magic Labyrinth), though it was the fifth to be published. This one is set primarily in France, starting with the period immediately after the end of the Spanish Civil War. It mainly involves Juan, a Spaniard who had not been involved in the Civil War but had lived in Paris, running a small shop that sold and repaired radios. He is arrested by the police in a round-up of Communists but released when he shows that he has been mistaken for his brother Juan, who was involved in the Civil War. However, once World War II breaks out, he is re-arrested and this time, despite his pleas and the pleas of his wife and even with Juan giving himself up, he is not released. He and the many other prisoners are moved to the Roland Garros stadium where they wait in vain for their case to be heard. When World War Ii breaks out, they are shunted down to the South of the country and things do not improve. Clearly Aub, who wrote this novel in 1942, well before it was finally published, felt very bitter about this and all of his ire is aimed at France and the French authorities. It is somewhat slighter than the previous three in the series but nevertheless an interesting view of an aspect of World War II most of us will be unaware of.

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