EL CID. JOSÉ LUIS CORRAL
We start the year with a well suited publication for a Burgalese one, "El Cid".
Olé, it sounds overwhelming, epic, typical Spanish ... He is defined by the author as the best known historical Spanish Hero (not literally). Ha. I am glad that Mr. Corral is Cid’s super fan, but I can’t see myself that worldwide recognition.
Let's say I have a distaste about this book from a long time ago. The explanation is my appreciation to another researcher. I explain myself, in my (however) multidisciplinary arts career, I have had professors of all kinds. As in all faculties, I suppose, there were more of the bad than the goods ones.
If I had to, I would choose four professors who left their mark or good memories on me, two were in the Arts area and two in the Middle Age History.
Well, one of the medieval was "Peña", Francisco Javier Peña, who was a gentleman, a good teacher. He also reminded me of my father and I think that's why I liked him even more. Well, he was thrilled writing a book about Cid’s life with all the data he had collected from diverse sources and that novel could bring him a little notoriety, not only in scientific places, but also in general population, mostly in Burgos. As he was about to finish and publish it, then Mr. Corral’s novel appeared, eclipsing any other book about the hero. Poor Peña.
And after all this summary, why I ended up having it? Because it appeared on my boyfriend’s scout fair market, and as it was really cheap, was well treated and nice printed... I bought it.
It has been on standby but in December came out from his lethargy. Apuf. If I knew how boring it was, I would have left it in permanent hibernation. Like Walt Disney, 50 years frozen...
It's too long for the story he tells. And we know that the historical story is not bad at all, Cid had lots of “fun” in his life (at least for his living time), plenty of wars, exiliations, bad kings who treated him badly, Arabs sometimes good and sometimes evils, daughters battered (supposedly) by their fiancés ... The author takes all these popularly known facts, ignored them, created others and seasoned all with thousands of data found in the more reliable historical literature.
So he mentioned nor la Tizona, nor la Colada (both are swords), Babieca, who is Babieca?, leaves her daughters well 'placed' with descendants of kings, no girl hailed him as a good vassal if he would have a good king, and of course, he doesn’t win any battle after death.
So I swallow the whole dull, let’s say a historical novel (for me that means recreated history in which I tell the most attractive details for the reader despite the fact that they are fake and give a tinge of general historical credibility. Because it is a novel and I can lie. If it was a scientific book I can’t, but here we could have had some sensationalist information). In this book the author becomes the worthy and totally pissed of Cantar de Mio Cid and remove all the details we all are waiting for.
But, blood and gore and torture and unrealistic debates between Moors and Christians, a lot. That looks more smarter, for sure.
And Mr. Corral, in his role as a teacher, starts explaining even the smallest detail, I have read 20 pages and he was still describing the clothing. Sooo slow. Continuously break the rhythm of the novel with unnecessary data and explanations. And repetitive, repeat-repeat-repeat repetitive. Don Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar was looking from the top of Cebolla’s hill to Valencia several centuries, or that seems.
In other words, I pass the novel just because the history of the Cid has many events, but the story is an “I want (to make a novel) but I can’t (because I’m in my vein of professor of history and go boring).
Good thing I finished and I can read another thing.
Cantero, you know that this book has your name now.
A gap released on my shelf, a large space for anything better ...
Pd: Scores, I'll join this fashion: 6 / 10
Pd2: It bothers me that this book will be the cover of the album of 2011.