"Perhaps the worst thing about war is the peace that follows . . ."
Winds of the Night is the follow-up, published almost thirty years later, to Joan Sales' acclaimed masterwork of the Spanish Civil War, Uncertain Glory.
It describes the shell-shocked wasteland that was post-war Catalonia through the eyes of Cruells, a Republican chaplain who survives the war, and completes his theological studies only to lose his faith in a world where it seems all hope has been extinguished.
As he struggles to function as a rural priest, his steps are dogged by a ghostly figures from his past, such as Lamoneda, a fascist agent provocateur who now hobnobs with Himmler and misses few opportunities to turn the febrile post-war atmosphere to his financial advantage.
Against his wishes, Creulls is drawn into obsessive dialogues about the war in which only lunacy prevails, for Lamoneda seems to hold the key to the whereabouts of an old friend - the mercurial Juli Soleras, whose charisma, for all his betrayals, still holds Cruells in thrall.
An essential coda to the modern classic that is Uncertain Glory, Winds of the Night is a Beckettian vision of the traumas of combatants and country hidden beneath the rhetoric of the victors.
Translated from the Catalan by Peter Bush
Joan Sales (1912-1983) was a Catalan writer, translator and publisher. He obtained a Law degree in 1932 and was a member of regional anarchist and communist groups. In the Civil War he fought on the Madrid and Aragonese fronts before going into exile in France in 1939. He moved to Mexico in 1942, returning to Catalonia in 1948, after which he began working as a publisher. Uncertain Glory, his crucial testament, was first published in 1956, though a combination of censorship and Sales' tendency towards revision meant that a definitive edition was not available until many years later.