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Original title: Música en la oscuridad


Original title: Música en la oscuridad

The orchestra that achieved the impossible. A moving novel that puts heroes of the everyday centre stage to emphasise the transformative power of art, even in times of war. 

In the winter of 1930, Joaquina and her husband Mariano, a clarinettist and tailor by trade, move to a small town in rural Spain. Mariano has been contracted to take charge of the lacklustre municipal orchestra there, made up mostly of farm workers without any musical education. Peasants with knotted fingers and nails blackened by soil who can't play a note. Nobody in the town wants to give them an easy ride. Even the small tailor's shop Mariano opens fails to garner business, and it's Joaquina – forced to get a job in a bakery and sell sandwiches at the station – who keeps them afloat. 


As time passes, Mariano learns to trust the rough and ready locals and, in doing so, begins to earn their confidence. A firm believer in progressive ideals and bringing the country into the modern era through education and culture, his passion for music has a truly transformative effect on the lives of his neighbours. Yet despite his achievements, a local healer known as 'the witch' attempts to scupper his plans and drive the couple out of the community. Locked in a tussle between reason and magic, rejection and desire, tradition and renewal, their small drama plays out as the distant threat of civil war rumbles unstoppably towards the town. 




Music in the Dark sees a return to the exceptional storytelling talent which Antonio Iturbe displayed in The Librarian of Auschwitz. His gift for rescuing and breathing new life into true yet little-known events from recent history is evident in this moving tale of resilience in times of war. 

Technical data

Publishing date: | 416 pages | ISBN: 978-84-322-4357-8 | Imprint: Seix Barral