The novel tells the story of Romanino, who is haunted by traumatic memories. During the Spanish Civil War he joined the Republicans and their freedom struggle for democracy but the young Rom was not prepared to kill for the ideals of his fellow combatants.
Fleeing the violent clashes, he arrives in France and meets his wife, Huda, in Paris. The bloody fighting between the French and Germans soon casts a shadow over their love, however. After Huda’s arrest by the Germans, Romanino survives the Occupation by hiding in a country house. After the war, many years pass in which Romanino searches in vain for Huda until he learns that his wife was murdered in a German concentration camp.
Romanino’s frequent recollections about his past define the overall narrative structure of the novel: the main story is set in France during the occupation, and is interspersed with those parts of the story recounting his memories of the Spanish Civil War. The excerpt here presents one of his retrospections. After an evening following numerous confrontations with German soldiers in occupied France, Romanino recalls his escape from Spain, which at the time was being torn apart by civil war.
Jayat, Sandra. 1986. El Romanes. Paris: Magnard, p. 100