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The Disenchantment [PDF / EPUB] The Disenchantment A gripping narrative history of Spain’s most brilliant and troubled literary family—a tale about the making of art myth and legacy—set against the upheaval of the Spanish Civil War and beyondIn A gripping narrative history of Spain’s most brilliant and troubled literary family—a tale about the making of art myth and legacy—set against the upheaval of the Spanish Civil War and beyondIn this absorbing and atmospheric historical narrative journalist Aaron Shulman takes us deeply into the circumstances surrounding the Spanish Civil War through the lives loves and poetry of the Paneros Spain’s most compelling and eccentric family whose lives intersected memorably with many of the most storied figures in the art literature and politics of the time—from Neruda to Salvador Dalí from Ava Gardner to Pablo Picasso to Roberto BolañoWeaving memoir with cultural history and biography and brought together with vivid storytelling and striking images The Age of Disenchantments sheds new light on the romance and intellectual ferment of the era while revealing the profound and enduring devastation of the war the Franco dictatorship and the country’s transition to democracyA searing tale of love and hatred art and ambition and freedom and oppression The Age of Disenchantments is a chronicle of a family who modeled their lives and deaths on the works of art that most inspired and obsessed them and who in turn profoundly affected the culture and society around them .

  • ebook
  • The Disenchantment
  • Aaron Shulman
  • 01 March 2016
  • 9780062484215

10 thoughts on “The Disenchantment

  1. says:

    In 1972 73 my junior year in college I lived with the Panero family the subject of this book in Madrid during a six month study abroad period Franco was still living Leopoldo Panero the patriarch of the family had been dead 11 years I knew that he had been a well known poet but nothing else His widow Felicidad was a very elegant well spoken aristocratic woman with a mind of her own and talent but had a troubled life I sensed she had Republican sympathies and didn't think much of the FrancoistsNationalists Leopoldo had been in various posts in the Spanish government roles that mainly had him promoting Spanish culture When I started reading some of his work I was shocked to discover that he was basically an apologist for Franco I began wondering How could this elegant cultured intelligent woman possiblly have been married to a Francoist? One did not ask uestions like this out loud in Spain at that time with Franco still in command But I always wondered about it Years later I learned that Leopoldo became a fascist simply to survive he was imprisoned and was likely headed for execution but was allowed to join with the Falange after his mother intervened with Franco's wife whom the mother knew personally Difficult circumstances but not a tough choiceThere were three sons the two younger ones Leopoldo Maria and Michi were around freuently at the their mother's apartment They were a little bit older than me but still in their mid 20s Leopoldo Maria was very very odd I found out a little from his mother he had been imprisoned for drugs I learned later that it was a lot worse than this he had been imprisoned for political protests and had been tortured I distinctly remember knocking on his door one evening to talk to him he was the king of cool but would jump three feet in the air when someone knocked he apparently had been forcibly removed by police in he middle of the night and lived in fear of a repeat He would go on to write brilliant poetry from an insane asylum in the Canary Islands where he lived most of his lifeShulman was inspired to write the book while living in Spain 10 12 years ago when he saw the movie El Desencanto This movie made in 1975 was a documentary about the Panero family the central event was the unveiling of a statue of Leopoldo the father in his hometown of Astorga The unveiling was a formal affair with children dancing speeches etc The movie however is mainly conversations and interviews with Felicidad Juan Luis the oldest son Michi and finally Leopoldo Maria Let's just say it's apparent Felicidad was not happy with her late husband and that there was an enormous amount of conflict among the sons and between the mother and each son They all had severe issues with the father Leopoldo and did not hesitate to say so All of this in the context of unveiling a statue of him The movie was considered scandalous in Spain but made the family famous in that countryWhy am I saying all of this in a book review? Well I read the book as almost an allegory on the destructive power of fascism on a family and on creativity I read a WSJ review of the book the reviewer didn't seem to get this at all Each family member I think felt a great deal of shame and guilt albeit mixed with some pride about their father and the life he lead The two older sons both attempted suicide Michi the youngest became a womanizing man about town in Madrid and died of cancer at 52 The older brothers died about six years ago No children from any of them So the end of the lineSo yes a Long Shadow indeed A cautionary tale for these times for us now in the US? Nationalism vs liberalism? I think our institutions are strong enough to keep us from descending into an autocracy but just in case anyone needs to be reminded that fascism is evil well The Age of Disenchantments is one example Incredibly well researched incredibly well written

  2. says:

    The story of Spain during its period of fascist rule the regime’s death rattle and the beginning of democracy is told through the experience of a literary family Its patriarch as a young man was jailed as a leftist and saved by his mother’s connections He coped by aligning with Gen Franco and after the war joined his administration He became Spain’s cultural leader and something like a poet laureate Aaron Shulman shows how Leopoldo Panero’s joining with the Fascists affected his wife and their three sons both during and after his and the regime’s life and deathPanero may have had to betray his values to survive; but he did not have to drink to excess have multiple mistresses and abuse his family He fully lost my sympathy when he threatened his wife Felicidad with divorce in Franco’s Spain where women had no options because she enjoyed the flirtations of his poet friend Forget that Leopoldo treated his wife horribly and that the flirtatious poet was gay Until he died at age 52 he was the cultural darling of the Franco administrationThe Panero sons responded to their famous father in familiar ways avoiding the legacy youngest son Michi rebelling against the legacy while fighting to best it Leopoldo Maria and becoming the father Juan Luis The book also shows how the sons 6 years apart came of age in the different stages of Franco’s decline which meant the loosening of authoritarian rule and an improving economy In US terms Juan Luis is the silent generation; Leopoldo Maria the baby boomer and Michi generation XThe family agreed to a documentary which aired in 1976 where its tensions and emotional battles were on full view This did not tarnish their celebrity and may have added to it Leopoldo senior has had many posthumous honors His family home has been made a tourist destination While many English language poets have had messy lives I cannot think of a family with a parallel experience This book which synthesized interviews and many sources in English and Spanish helped me to better understand what it was like to live during the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath While it stands on its own for the general reader it is particularly recommended for those interested in Spanish poetry and or life under fascism at its “long shadow”

  3. says:

    I cannot recommend a better historical narrative book than this gem a fascinating tale that ticks all boxes Civil wars poets and writers crazy families politics different decades Franco Spanish history love death This is a big book but a fast absorbing read and brilliantly researched and beautifully told writing It works like a novel and has you invested in the characters who are real people who lived a crazy fascinating life One of my fav books of this year

  4. says:

    This review is gonna be a little different I liked the beginning with its focus on the Spanish civil war but couldn't get into the weird family story living under Franco's Spain i don't know why I just couldn't get into their story I am much concerned with items like the horrors of fascism But that is me Maybe if I had read something by them I might be invested in reading about this particular family I will look into it

  5. says:

    Won with gratitude in a Goodreads giveaway This book is a tapestry of literary success and failure family dysfunction and tragedy set against war and repression in a nation's history It is the twentieth century saga of the poetic Panero family of Spain and the frustrated success and patriarchal failings of husband and father Leopoldo With the assassination of noted writer Federico Garcia Lorca as its starting point the book chronicles the confusing survivalist politics of Leopoldo during and after the Spanish Civil War In his marriage to Felicidad he is joined to one who like Leopoldo lost a brother in that tragic conflict After the war and working for Franco's Fascist government Leopoldo tries to build a career as a writer and cultural presence as he and Felicidad bring three emotionally stunted and personally doomed sons into the world While the eldest is named for uncles lost in the war it is the mentally unstable and suicidal second son Leopoldo Maria who will achieve the most tantalizingly close to success literary presence The youngest son Michi leads perhaps the most unfulfilled life of the three Ironically with Leopoldo's premature death in 1962 the flawed glue holding this dysfunction together is gone leaving Felicidad to witness and poorly deal with her sons' stop and start lives The dysfunction is played out on the changing national stage in the mid 1970's when the family shockingly chooses to air the family dirty linen in a documentary oddly influenced by the Bouvier expose' Grey Gardens The documentary is met with national and personal outrage The reaction may be shocking to readers today in our media drenched age; I read this against the backdrop of Michael Jackson and R Kelley documentaries and the R Kelley interview This painfully personal story of family disintegration is played out against the drama of a Spain emerging from Francisco Franco's repressive rule and drawn out hand over of power and death remember Chevy Chase's opening line? I enjoy sweeping family histories the Roosevelts and the Churchills and the Kennedy's but I was engrossed to discover this Spanish literary family in all of their pain near success and self eradication

  6. says:

    The fascinating true life story of how one man's choice of survival comes to define not only his legacy but the lives of the family he will eventually leave behind The writer Aaron Shulman's exacting account of the Spanish writer Leopoldo Panero and his literary family also tracks the rise and fall of the ruthless dictatorship of Francisco Franco Catapulting the reader from the first shots of the Nationalist revolt of 1936 and beyond the eventually prolonged death of Francisco Franco in 1975 Aaron Shulman takes great care in his vivid account of the fractured lives of the Paneros a family who knew no other way to live except as if their lives were some tremendous literary tragedy Once a liberal communist during the democratically elected Spanish Second Republic of 1931 the fledgling poet Leopoldo Panero's eventual embrace of fascism after the Republic's loss of the war in 1939 would illuminate the only way one could survive during a dictatorship determined to extinguish any form of dissent Eventually becoming known as Franco's poet laureate Leopoldo tried his best yet failed miserably as a husband and father until his unexpected death in 1962 But Leopoldo Panero's legacy would continue to be defined by his newly liberated yet long suffering widow Felicidad as well as begin to cast the slow burn of a magnifying glass upon Leopoldo's three surviving male children Juan Luis the notorious middle child Leopoldo María and the youngest Michi The surviving Panero family whose legendary appearance in documentary meant to commemorate their father will soon come to define the end of an entire nation's near 40 year hallucination of having to survive a fascist dictatorship Shulman's lyrically detailed biography is a history lover's dream surveying the lives of a literary family left with nothing else but to embrace the tragic fictions of which they have become

  7. says:

    I've been reading some non fiction recently where the topic idea was appealing one on Arthurian legends another on exploring urban areas underground but the prose eech Can be clunky painful Shulman writes very very well He is in control of his material unspools the stories here well I've been drawn to Spanish Civil War accounts in booksseems as if last 10 years has brought uite a few from different angles Seems to speak to how fascism can arise human nature shows less than highest standards of behavior The war in Spain though also brings intersection of history in 20th c Europe in a uniuely focused manner political and cultural trends The writers who enter into the mix is interesting Schulman's book has been the first that I've attempted which is not dry a 'then this happened then this happened with persons x y and z' I read the first 100 pages today in one sitting Looking forward to returning to it

  8. says:

    Everything I think about this amazing book is here

  9. says:

    I didn’t buy this book because I had any interest in the Panero family I bought it because I know and respect Shulman’s work I expected the highlight of the book to be the craft that went into its composition but before the end of the third chapter I was invested in the book’s characters and would have continued reading even if the prose had been flat and turgid It’s not luckily but even if it were this book would be worth pouring over In its excavation of Spanish history it somehow manages to tell a sharply relevant story about the clash of politics faith and art that feels relevant in America’s current political moment

  10. says:

    This book is at once a sweeping history of the last century in Spain and an intimate portrayal of a fascinating family whose trajectory seems to have mirrored that of the country I appreciated the research that went into this interesting story and I look forward to seeing the documentary that launched the author's interest in the family as his subject matter I have been a student in Spain and of Spain and this new point of view has added to my interest Thank you Aaron Shulman

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