These two books examine the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, years of poverty and silence. Emili Teixidor, who lived from 1933 to 2012, was a Catalan teacher and journalist who wrote a number of novels and books for children in his native language. Manuel Rivas (born in 1957), one of Spain’s best-known novelists, writes in the language of Galicia, a region in northwest Spain. Both languages were suppressed by Franco’s fascist dictatorship. Black Bread is a sombre novel, set in the 1940s, with strong autobiographical echoes; The Low Voices is a witty novel-cum-memoir of a happy 1960s childhood.
The narrator of Black Bread, eleven-year-old Andreu, is one of three children growing up on a farm with his extended family soon after the end of the Civil War. At night they hear strange noises round the house, but their kindly grandmother, the old Republican who holds the