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Federico Garda Lorca
by Erin Moure

IAN GIBSON'S Federico Garda Lorca: A Life (Pantheon (Random House), 552 pages, $29.25 cloth) is a meticulous work, in the classic tradition of biographical obsessiveness. It tracks Garcia Lorca's life and movement from his birth in a village house in Fuentevaqueros through his years in Granada, Madrid (where he met Dali), to time spent at Cadaques, Malaga, Barcelona, and then New York; it recounts his dramatic successes in Buenos Aires and Spain, his work with the student theatre La Barraca, and his increasing outspokenness on behalf of the Republic against the old Spanish order. In July 1936, the poet decided to return from Madrid to the chaotic thuggery of rebel Granada, where he was assassinated by the Falangists on August 18. Gibson traces, too, the outline of what we have lost -- the record of Garcia Lorca's love and feelings, which are largely hidden from us. But what we do have! -- the man of outer gaiety and inner sadness, of homosexual longing in strict Spain, a man tied to the earth and the rituals of ordinary people in a world that was in the act of throwing out its ceremonies, and the poet, not merely "surrealist," but of the Andalusian Vega with its metaphoric speech, its endurance of love and pain, its stories passed on to him by women; the poet of duende, of the human visible cry. Ay! Ay!

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