Inheriting our Names is a story of lives both imagined and true. It is a hybrid of memoir, historical record, magic, and family lore that mirrors the current movement to heal the enduring cultural wounds of the Spanish Civil War by exhuming and claiming that history.
Inheriting our Names builds out of grief not only a story steeped in history, but a truth limned in hope. Both personal and global, the tragedies that haunt the narrator happened before her birth with the betrayal of the Spanish people at the onset of their civil war. Traveling to Seville, the narrator attempts to reconcile her fragmented knowledge of her family's political history with the santos perambulating the blood-stained streets during Seville's tenebrous Holy Week pageantry. There, she imagines a tale of incantations and recitations, of superstition and faith, of guilt and forgiveness.
With gradually emerging clarity, she discerns a legacy of trans-generational grief that has been foretold in the naming of the daughters of each subsequent generation -- including the burden of her own name. But she also realizes resilient hope residing within, managing to turn a legacy of formerly unspoken sorrow into a sort of personal salvation.
articles about reclaiming the lost memories of the Spanish Civil War:
In Seville, Burial of Civil War Commander Reopens Decades-Old Wounds from New York Times
Photo: Martin Munkacsi