Summer of '38 review

Review and Critique "SUMMER OF '38" by Colm Toibin as published in "The New Yorker", March 4, 2013.

 Toibin story takes us to a town in Spain where an old woman is living out the last of her life. The woman is contacted by a writer that is researching a story about WWII and the occupation of her village by Franco's soldiers.

The writer had been in touch with an ex-officer in Franco's army who is comingto come to the town in hope of having lunch with the old woman and the writer.  The officer has requested that the woman be present and have lunc with them.

The story takes us into the mind of the woman as she relives her life in those perilous years and her relationship with the ex-officer. What was their relationship?  Will she meet with him? They are only two of the many questions and possibilities that float through your mind as you read the story.

Toibin does a masterful job of keeping the reader interested and wanting to know what happened and what is going to happen. The way he writes dialogue pulls you into the story and you feel as if you're in the room eavesdropping on the characters in the story.

What were they to the town, the war effort, to each other? Is she guilty of collaborating with the enemy? Is the writer really hunting for war criminals. Is the quiet old lady really a WWII war criminal?

The story is a good read and goes well with your morning coffee or your afternoon tea.

Highly recommended...


  1. This definitely sounds intriguing, lots of possibilities! Great review, GS!

  2. A guy who writes a review should have at least some basic knowledge of what he or she writes about. The story does not relive the events of WWII but of Spanish Civil War! In summer of 1938 there was still a year till the outbreak of The Second World War...