I just finished reading Os dous de sempre (The same two as always) by the Galician writer Alfonso Castelao. It is the only novel he has ever written, and in the introduction he tells us that even though he hopes we like it, he just wrote this novel to kill the time. Let us be clear, it wasn’t a waste, I really liked it.
It describes two boys growing up, two opposites, called Pedriño (later Pedro) and Rañolas. It describes life in Galicia at the begining of the 20th century. And from time to time it makes you laugh. For example in the very beginning, where he describes the house of aunt Ádega and how it looks like a face and sometimes even winks.
Or that time where Pedriño, who’s life revolves around eating starts eating the apples that have just been fed to the pig:
Unha tarde a criada do crego apañou no chan do pomareiro un mandil de mazáns e botoullas ó porco. Pasou por alí Pedriño e, coidando que ninguén o vía, aproveitouse da ocasión para tomar unha enchente. Pedriño e mailo porco comían mazáns, como dous compañeiros, cando saíu dunha fiestra da reitoral a voz grosa do señor abade: ¡Deixa comer ó porco, lambón!
I know most of you don’t understand Galician, but it gives you a bit an idea of how it looks (and maybe sounds) like. I haven’t really studied Galician yet, but I could follow quite well what was going on in the story. I even noticed some differences with contemporary Galician (this book was first edited in 1934), and I learned some new words.
This book is a critic towards a certain kind of people, towards the then ruling forces, although it is never really said out loud. The title, even though it literally means that this is just a story about two people who we meet again and again throughout the book, may be a hint to the fact that, although it seems they do, things never change. Or as Mark Twain once said:
History doesn’t repeat itself, but is does rhyme.