The Perfume Garden 10

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Emma learns the last piece of information from Macu.

Rosa tried to escape on a ship, but the ship where she was was ambushed, and she ended up in jail. In prison she had the baby, but she didn’t even see her baby boy as she was told he had died. Macu tells Emma that it is not clear whether the baby died or was given to a rich married couple. This is true; there were many irregularities in this sense, and it is now that women are trying to find the children that they thought had died. It is not just the women who were in jail, but other women who found themselves at the hands of greedy doctors and medical staff.

We also learn that Rosa escaped to Mexico thanks to Macu. The woman visited Rosa in jail, and they exchanged clothes and documents, and then Macu pretended she had been hit by Rosa, who escaped in this way. This part is a bit far-fetched in my opinion. In any case, Rosa escaped to Mexico. What I don’t understand is why she never tried to find her daughter. She was now out of Spain and safe, so why didn’t she do anything to find Liberty or at least know about her?

There are a few things that I think are inaccurate. One is that Fidel states that in 2001 he has problems with his business because his family was red. I don’t know about Valencia, but I can say that those prejudices were left behind, and in 2001 people couldn’t have that kind of prejudice, especially as the war had happened over 60 years ago, and the people who lived that war were at the time dead or old. So the new generations couldn’t be influenced by those ideas. At least, where I live, I have never seen such a thing, and people just want to live in peace and quiet. Maybe in Valencia things are different, but I very much doubt that. The only thing that remained from that time just after Franco died and democracy was reinstated was fear. I remember that my grandmother was always afraid when my uncles started talking politics even when we were a free country. People was over that eventually, but in the first years (in the 80s) the shadow of the dictatorship still loomed over the population.

Another thing that the book mentions and I think is not totally accurate. The characters say that the areas that were taken by the Nationalists lived in luxury and wanted for nothing and I think that is not right. My grandmother lived the war. She was like Macu, who was not into politics and she only wanted to have a good life with her family. Andalucia was the first region to be taken by the Nationalist, and I remember my grandmother telling me about the year after the war, which she called “the hunger year”. She got married to my grandfather that year, and she wanted to make her wedding clothes, but she found it extremely difficult to find things to do that as there was nothing in the shops, material, thread… nothing. And the years after the war, food was rationed. There was little of anything, and my parents and my uncles always talk about how hungry they were as they grew up. Mothers had little money to buy food, so the children of that generation were not well-fed. That is why many women of that generation are nowadays suffering from osteoporosis, and the people of that generation were quite short because of the lack of food.

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