Cela is the Goya of Franco’s Spain.

—Paul West

Available December 25, 2018

Mazurka for Two Dead Men

Fiction by Camilo José Cela

Mazurka for Two Dead Men, the culmination of Camilo José Cela’s literary art, opens in 1936 at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War: Lionheart Gamuzo is savagely murdered. In 1939, as the war ends, his brother avenges his death. For both deaths, the blind accordion player plays the same mazurka. Set in backward rural Galicia, Cela’s excellent novel portrays a reign of fools, and works like contrapuntal music, its themes calling and responding, alternately brutal, melancholy, funny, lyrical, and coarse.

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Camilo José Cela

Camilo José Cela was a significant contributor to 20th century Spanish Literature.

Cela is the Goya of Franco’s Spain.

—Paul West

There is a secret slot for Cela at his best, as one of the great prose stylists, plural, of Spain — a man dangerously like us.

—Roberto Bolaño

Cela never forgets that the mazurka is a dance. He writes with gusto about that fundamental two-step of human existence: sex and death.

Los Angeles Times

The definitive novel of how the Spanish Civil War was actually experienced by ordinary people.


His most mesmerizing fiction, about life during the first four decades of the twentieth century, a life so brutal that the Spanish Civil War, when it occurs, seems a mere continuation of the ordinary. A fiendishly haunting story.

The New York Times