Jose Maria Gironella, 85; Prize-Winning Spanish Novelist

From Staff and Wire Reports

Jose Maria Gironella, 85, a Spanish author whose best-known novels include “The Cypresses Believe in God,” “One Million Dead” and “Peace After War,” died Friday at his home near Barcelona from a blood clot in his brain.

The three novels, published in the 1950s and ‘60s, chronicle events in Spain from the years leading up to the 1936-39 civil war to the postwar era. The publication of each novel spurred debates over whether the author had been objective or was a pro-Franco propagandist.

Born in northeastern Spain in 1917, Gironella fought on the side of Gen. Francisco Franco, whose fascist forces had rebelled against the republican government.


Gironella’s first novel, “Un Hombre,” won his country’s prestigious Nadal Prize in 1946.

“The Cypresses Believe in God,” published in Spain in 1953, is set in the years leading up to the Spanish Civil War. It sold more than 6 million copies in Spanish and was Gironella’s biggest success.