Book summary

Cierzo Rojo

Cierzo Rojo


Author: Leonhard Frank, novelist; 1882-1961. Other works: The gang of robbers, The bourgeois, The male quartet of Ochsenfurt, Three million three, etc.

Genre and current: Expressionist novel.


Synopsis: For four years, Karl and Richard, two prisoners of war, have lived together in the solitude of a remote steppe, digging an enormous crosshole. Day after day, Karl hears from his partner Richard thousands of details of his life together with Anna. Thus, Karl ends up knowing all the physical and spiritual intimacy of that woman, and falls in love with her, to the point that only that feeling gives her the strength to continue living.

One day, they are transferred to different prisons and should be separated. Karl escapes from prison and his only thought is to get to Anna's house and, after traveling for three months the enormous distance that separates her from her, she pretends to be Richard, her husband; otherwise, how could I know so much about Anna and the home?

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The woman distrusts; do not believe him; he never believes him. But Karl knows how to earn that simple, fresh and honest lady. And so Anna, in spite of doubts and reticences - not hidden before him - is given to her in a natural way, although she is convinced: this man is not her husband. Karl goes on, holds on to his statement.

After a while, that does not matter anymore. Both accept reality and build a new life on it; only then does the total union, an intimate rapport, love each other, belong together; feel guilt-free, pure and sure of that feeling. And Anna gets pregnant.

And that day comes. Dirty, lousy, disheveled, "spit on the war," the husband appears. He arrives to take possession of his house and his wife, as if nothing had happened. He learns the truth about the couple's silences, more than they can tell him. Also note Anna's pregnancy. Furious, he goes to get the ax to kill Karl. Anna's words stop him: "I can not live without him. Kill me." Richard is perplexed and stunned; There is no remedy; Keep quiet.

Meanwhile, Karl and Anna get ready to leave. And they leave together, defying the laughter, taunts and slander of the whole neighborhood. Before leaving, Anna's gaze often rested on Richard, "but it never occurred to him to surrender to his piety and stay by his side. Nothing in the world can be as cruel as love, which shakes hands with him. More murderer of selfishness. "

In this novel, he emphasizes his original style and the way in which he presents a theme that is always inclined to fall into sensibility and corny sentimentality. Frank's prose is unkempt, suggestive, elliptical, but extremely ductile and expressive.

Psychological truth, situations full of drama and humanity of the characters and description of a reality full of poetry are, Literary qualities enough to make this story one of the most outstanding works of its kind.