Un hombre, 1946 (Where the Soil Was Shallow, 1957)
La marea, 1949
Los cipreses creen en Dios, 1953 (The Cypresses Believe in God, 1957)
Un millón de muertos, 1961 (One Million Dead, 1963)
Mujer, levántate y anda, 1962
Ha estallado la paz, 1966 (Peace After War, 1969)
Condenados a vivir, 1971
Cita en el cementerio, 1983
Los hombres lloran solas, 1986
La dud inquietante, 1988
Ala sombra de Chopin, 1990
El corazón alberga muchas sombras, 1995
Se hace camino al andar, 1997
El apocalipsis, 2001
Todos somos fugitivos, 1961 (English translation, 1964)
Ha llegado el invierno y tú no estás aquí, 1945
El novelista ante el mundo, 1954
Los fantasmas de mi cerebro, 1959 (Phantoms and Fugitives: Journeys to the Improbable, 1964; includes translation of Todos somos fugitivos)
Personas, ideas, y mares, 1963
El Japón y su duende, 1964
China, lágrima innumerable, 1965
Gritos del mar, 1967
Conversaciones con don Juan de Borbon, 1968
En Asia se muere bajo las estrellas, 1968
Cien españoles y Dios, 1969
El Mediterraneo es un hombre disfrazado de mar, 1974
El escandola de Tierra Santa, 1977
Carta a mi padre muerto, 1978
Jerusalén de los Evangelios, 1989
Yo, Mahoma, 1989
Carta a mi madre muerta, 1992
Nuevos 100 españoles y Dios, 1994
José María Gironella (hee-roh-NEH-yah) was born in the province of Gerona, Catalonia; his full name was originally José María Gironella Pous. Following his primary school education he was placed in an ecclesiastical seminary, but he was not interested in a religious vocation and left when he was thirteen years old. This marked the end of his formal education. Between 1933 and 1936 Gironella worked at various occupations: He served apprenticeships in a liquor factory and in a grocery business, and later he became a clerk in a bank. When the Spanish Civil War broke out he enlisted and was at the front during most of that conflict. After the war ended in 1939 Gironella sold used books and worked in the wholesale clothing business. He married in l946, promising his wife he would give her the Nadal Prize as a wedding present. That same year his first novel, Where the Soil Was Shallow, was published and awarded the Nadal Prize. A second novel, La marea (the tide), appeared two years later.
Gironella moved to Paris in 1948, and for a year he supplemented his income by giving chess lessons and driving a truck; he was thereafter able to support himself with his writing. He remained in Paris until 1952, with trips to England and Switzerland, and then returned to Spain.
Gironella’s major contribution to literature is a comprehensive and nonpartisan trilogy dealing with the Spanish Civil War and its ramifications. The initial segment, a novel entitled The Cypresses Believe in God, was a major success in Spain when it appeared in 1953, and its English translation gained the author international renown. A long and powerful book, it deals with a middle-class provincial family and the effect of political upheavals upon them during that chaotic period just prior to the Spanish Civil War. It was widely praised as the greatest novel to emerge from Spain in many years.
One Million Dead, the second segment of the trilogy, was published in 1961. More detached than its predecessor and lacking the youthful drive of the earlier volume, it is nonetheless a clear portrayal of what its author saw and experienced, and it provides a sane appraisal of chaos.
The final volume of the trilogy, Peace After War, which appeared in 1966, continues the story of the Alvear family. This long novel moves at a leisurely pace; the viewpoint moves back from the characters, and the scene broadens into an overall view of a nation trying to recover from the most destructive kind of war.
Gironella’s purpose in writing his trilogy was to analyze the problems of twentieth century Spain. He did so by recreating prewar conditions, the military struggle, and the long recovery; it is to his credit that he kept partisanship and ideology to a minimum.