In Gonzalo Torrente Ballester's novel Yo no soy yo, evidentemente (I Am Clearly Not Myself), a German character makes the following remark:
Sobre este mundo real … hemos montado otro imaginario para nosotros mismos, un mundo que no nos engaña, pero que nos divierte y en el fondo nos satisface: La Alemania como debió ser, un país y una sociedad en la que tendríamos cabida. Quizás vaya en ello un poco de nostalgia de lo que se perdió para siempre. (Torrente Ballester 2008: 421–2)
We have erected for ourselves on top of this world another imaginary one, a world of which we have no illusions but which amuses us and deep down satisfies us: Germany as it ought to have been, a country and a society which would have had room for us. There is in that, perhaps, a little nostalgia for what was lost for ever.
This quotation from one of Torrente's later novels encapsulates much of what I am going to discuss in this chapter, focusing on Torrente's use of landscape, space and place in his work as a way of expressing the desire of association with a Spain that he wishes were otherwise. As with the previous chapter, we find a suggestion of Spain and its history as it ought to have been – history and memory as malleable fantasy – but now seen from the other side, the side of those who were the victors of the Civil War. Landscape, space and place become a means of wishing away past historical allegiances in favour of an imaginary land – but linked to the real one – where one fits in.
We are talking about forgetting, rather than rewriting, the history of Spain, since Torrente's aim is in part to undermine the link between the written word and historical truth. Torrente has been hailed by many scholars as a writer of metafictional novels which draw attention to their own construction and make explicit the authorial process. But they also draw attention to the processes of historical writing. Jo Labanyi argues for Torrente as an author ‘concerned to demythify official versions of history not because such versions are mythical but because they attempt to pass themselves off as history: that is, because they take history seriously’ (Labanyi 1989: 179). For Torrente, ‘history is equated with repression, and myth with liberation’ (ibid.).