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by Mau­rice Leitch

(Turn­pike Books £12.99, 208 pp) BORN in North­ern Ireland, Mau­rice Leitch un­der­stands di­vi­sion and the frac­ture left be­hind by con­flict. Af­ter the Span­ish Civil War, the ho­tel Mi­ra­mar on the coast of Tor­re­moli­nos is host to a washed-up group of peo­ple, in­clud­ing fad­ing Amer­i­can singer John­nie, and eugene, a for­mer Ir­ish Blueshirt (a unit which fought for Franco), who feels he can­not re­turn home. Mean­while, Adri­ana, a lo­cal woman work­ing at the Mi­ra­mar, is liv­ing a pre­car­i­ous dou­ble life with a se­cret.

‘even think­ing… can be dan­ger­ous,’ re­flects Adri­ana. The Gen­eral has a long mem­ory and a long arm, and his po­lice are hunt­ing down his for­mer en­e­mies.

This skil­ful, un­showy por­trait of an af­ter­math, with its vendet­tas and trauma pe­cu­liar to Spain, is also a re­minder of what hap­pens when any na­tion turns on it­self.

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