André Malraux: L’Espoir (Man’s Hope; Days of Hope)
Malraux served as an aviator in the Spanish Civil War on the Republican side and this novel is based on his experiences. It follows group of combatants, particularly aviators, from the outbreak of the Civil War after Franco’s attack, to the end. Malraux is clearly on the Republican side and the story is told exclusively from the Republican point of view. Malraux gives us a wonderful portrait of the organisational, military and political problems the Republicans face as well as the vicissitudes of the war. Political discussions between the different political tendencies and the contributions of the International Brigades are also important features.
Malraux tells a gripping story, even though we know the inevitable outcome, because he manages to make us interested in the individual characters as well as getting us involved in the drama of the war. His description of the soldiers’ awaiting execution and the drawn out story of the Fall of Madrid are masterly and make this novel one of the best Spanish Civil War novels.
First published in French 1937 by Gallimard
First English translation 1938 by Random House and Routledge