Luis Martín Santos - Revolutionary novel by Santos in which he recalls his years of scientific research as a device for presenting the harshness and the economic and social hardship of Spain in the 1940s.

Luis Martín Santos, Time of Silence, Trans. by George Leeson, Columbia University Press, 1989.

Considered one of the best Spanish novels of the 20th century, 'Time of Silence', the work of the writer and psychiatrist Luis Martín Santos, revolutionised the national narrative scene. The most innovative aspect of the novel was the incorporation of three narrative modes: the inner monologue, the second person and the free indirect style. Due to the delicate nature of the issues addressed, as many of 20 pages of the first edition were censored. The work was not published in full until 1981.
 The novel, set in Madrid in the 1940s, revolves around the economic, social and health difficulties of the time through various characters who are caught up in situations which lead to a tragic denouement. The plot harks back to the author's youth when he was involved in scientific investigation.
In 1986, Vicente Aranda made a film version of the work. -

An enveloping haze of dedicated rationalism fails to save a young scientist from the less lofty, but much more real, ways of the world. Don Pedro, not yet a doctor and far from a man, dreams of finding a cure for cancer in his tumorous mice imported from Illinois. The madrileno world has other dreams: his shantytown assistant concentrates on possible profits in the illicit mice trade, his lower-class landlady prepares a match with her granddaughter, and his intellectual friend Matias dreams of very little, but his presence completes the socio-economic roster. The incongruity of the different social strata forms the novel's superstructure, preparing Pedro's downfall in a collusion of circumstance and his own weakness. In his scientific fervor he performs an illegal abortion in shantytown, which--in a somewhat breathless, chain reaction--kills the girl whose would-be lover then murders Pedro's fiancee. He loses his job and with it every shred of social and professional respectability. If this rather familiar plot succeeds in being tragic, then the tragedy lies in Pedro's thinking too much, a flaw that carries over into the heavy intellectualism of the writing. The narrational leaps from boarding house to shanty to intellectual cafe do not quite succeed in keeping Pedro's rational voice from labored intrusion when it ought to be silent. Madrid speaks, however, in its most ambitious and ambivalent tongue, imparting a degree of power to the novel. More interesting than arresting, it is at least a welcome break in the silence of translations from contemporary Spain.  - Kirkus Reviews

Nathan Richardson: No pensar‖, or Does the ContemporarySpanish Novel of Memory Really Want to Know?: Tiempo de silencio, Corazón tanblanco, Soldados de Salamina and Beyond (pdf)
He was born in Larache (Morocco) in 1924, although lived all his life in San Sebastian and in Madrid, where he studied Medicine and received his doctorate. He ran the psychiatric hospital in San Sebastian and was a clandestine member of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), for which he was arrested three times. He became a member of the party’s executive committee. He published numerous medical articles, but his literary debut was with “Tiempo de silencio” (Time of Silence), a work in which he depicted the social groups in post-Civil War Madrid from an ironic and critical point of view. He died in a traffic accident in Vitoria in 1964, leaving his work "Tiempo de destrucción" (Time of Destruction) incomplete.


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