Sunday, January 4, 2015

Book Review: Ignacio Sanchez Mejias

Ignacio Sanchez Mejias, released in 1998 by Alienza Publishing in Madrid, written by Andres Amoros, is perhaps the most effective and conclusive book ever written in any language about this confusing, intellectual torero.

The book covers the career of Sanchez Mejias, from his greatness with the banderillas to his weakness with the kill. It deals with his activities outside the ring, associating with his poetic friends and his marrying into the "Gallo" family of toreros. A complete and fascinating picture of this  complex man is offered in plain terms.

The book naturally deals with his tragic death in Manzanares as well. Old and out of shape, he decided to take risks that were uncalled for, including opening a faena on his knees, sitting on the stirrup running around the ring. After a set of passes, he should have risen to work on foot, but carried away, he slid further down the stirrup and attempted more passes. The bull simply veered into him and gored him in the leg. Had the goring taken place in modern times, he would most likely have survived, but in an era before the usage of penicillin, infection was common. An infection developed within the matador, which turned to gangrene and spelled his doom.

Sanchez Mejias has been dealt with in a number of earlier books and of course in the famed Lorca poem. This, book, however, remains arguably one of the best profiles of the deceased matador.  

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