A Tale in the Language of “My Mother Spain”

Carmen Pérez-Avello's Un muchacho sefardí

This article focuses on Carmen Pérez-Avello’s Un muchacho sefardí (A Sephardi Boy), a novel for young readers that that writer, who also happened to belong to Catholic religious order, published in Spain in 1965. The text’s multiple layers make it possible to examine contradictory meanings associated with Jewish and Sephardi themes in the decade that preceded the end of the Francoist dictatorship. On the one hand, Un muchacho sefardí stands out in a historical period in which Paloma Díaz-Más identifies an “absolute silence” with regard to Jewish characters and Jewish themes in Spanish literature. On the other hand, Pérez-Avello tapped into what could be called a “Philo-Sephardi catalogue” in order to craft the book. Un muchacho sefardí represents a unique opportunity to further understand a moment of gradual change and transition with regard to gender roles, the role of the church, and, of course, Spain’s relationship with Sephardi Jews.

issue 18 / December 2020 by Tabea Linhard