The Time in Between, by María Dueñas (translated from the original Spanish by Daniel Hahn)

Culture and history are two of my favourite subjects in the world, and historical fiction is my favourite genre to read.

“The Time in Between” by María Dueñas incorporates culture and history seamlessly, bringing to life completely new events that prior to reading this book I was completely unaware of.

Set in the 1930s Dueñas writes about Sira, a simple dress maker from Madrid. As the years pass she goes through numerous extremes, first gaining riches, then loosing it all. She moves from Madrid to Morocco in order to chase love but is unable to always keep up. The civil war in Spain creates unrest and then WWII brings its own series of issues to Spain and Northern Africa. Sira creates a life for herself, gaining strength and confidence from nothing while adapting to the turmoil and unrest of war.

“The Time In Between” is a long book to read and has many story lines. I sometimes found myself thinking that this book would be better off split in to two stories. What kept me going and what kept me intrigued to read more was the way it was written. Dueñas is clearly a gifted author, but so is her translator Daniel Hahn. There were some points in which there were pages of dialogue but despite the exhausting length, the author, along with the translator, was able to use witty and strong language in order to completely capture my attention.

Until this novel I had never before read a book that had been translated into English. It is always a gamble reading translated novels as one can wonder if the translator was able to capture exactly what the author was trying to convey. After reading “The Time In Between”, I think that Dueñas can be very proud of Hahn’s work. This book truly is a written masterpiece.

I know what I’m saying sounds exaggerated but it is truly what I think. As I was reading the book all I could think about was how amazingly every thought was delivered and every subject was written. Though the topic already fascinates me, it was the delivery that stuck out.

Overall I would highly recommend this book. Through it I was able to learn more about the civil war in Spain, Spain’s relationship with Morocco, and about the WWII resistance movement in Spain. Reading this book also convinced me of my desire to travel to Spain and Morocco where I can learn and see much of the history I read about first hand.

I am looking forward to reading another book by María Dueñas, translated by Daniel Hahn. I know that I can expect great things from this duo.


One response

  1. Wow, good review. I’l put it on my list. I’m also glad to read this review, after having just read your long silly conversation with Deborah about X-Factor! This makes you sound way more intelligent!! I also have to smile that every good book makes you want to visit that country!! xoxxoo

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