GONE TO EARTH
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.