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  Prudencia de Pereda   Arthur Wang Photographs / Prudencio de Pereda
“Fiesta is something tremendous in contemporary fiction.”
—Wilson Follett

After an absence of fifteen years, Ros Varona, an American, revisits his father’s birthplace, the town of Mozares in northern Spain. The time is 1948. He arrives shortly before the local fiesta, which takes the form of a Passion Play that had been observed since the Middle Ages.

Slowly but inexorably, Ros becomes involved in the lives of the people of Mozares, with his numerous relatives, with the passionate Candelas, and with Lota, a mute girl. Unwillingly, he is drawn into the struggle over the selection of the man who is to portray the Christus. Rivalry is intense—the role carries with it glory that lasts a lifetime. There are five contenders: Heraclito, a young farmer; Tomás, a humble, deeply devout peasant boy; Luciano, a businessman; Leandro, a Falangist; and Blas, a Communist whose father had been the Christus in an earlier fiesta.

When the day of the fiesta finally arrives, the suspense and tension, which have mounted steadily from the time of Ros’s arrival, burst out into an intensely dramatic climax.

Prudencio de Pereda, an American of Spanish parentage, was born in New York in 1912. He wrote with great compassion about the people of Spain: people whom he knew intimately, people who had been seared by civil war and isolated in ignorance. De Pereda’s short stories appeared in Story, Twice a Year, The New Mexico Quarterly, and many other magazines. His work was reprinted in Prize Stories 1937: The O. Henry Memorial Awards and in Edward J. O’Brien’s The Best Short Stories of 1938. His novel All the Girls We Loved, published in 1948, received an excellent press. It was reprinted and sold more than half a million copies.

Fiesta was published in 1953, when I was an editor
at A. A. Wyn.

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