Synopses & Reviews
Carmen Laforets Nada
ranks among the most important literary works of post-Civil War Spain. Loosely based on the authors own life, it is the story of an orphaned young woman who leaves her small town to attend university in war-ravaged Barcelona.
Residing amid genteel poverty in a mysterious house on Calle de Aribau, young Andrea falls in with a wealthy band of schoolmates who provide a rich counterpoint to the squalor of her home life. As experience overtakes innocence, Andrea gradually learns the disquieting truth about the people she shares her life with: her overbearing and superstitious aunt Angustias; her nihilistic yet artistically gifted uncle Román and his violent brother Juan; and Juans disturbingly beautiful wife, Gloria, who secretly supports the clan with her gambling. From existential crisis to a growing maturity and resolve, Andreas passionate inner journey leaves her wiser, stronger, and filled with hope for the future.
The incomparable Edith Grossmans vital new translation captures the feverish energy of Laforets magnificent story, showcasing its dark, powerful imagery, and its subtle humor. And Mario Vargas Llosas Introduction illuminates Laforets brilliant depiction of life during the early days of the Franco regime. With crystalline insight into the human condition, Carmen Laforets classic novel stands poised to reclaim its place as one of the great novels of twentieth-century Europe.
"Available in English for the first time in the U.S., Laforet's moody and sepulchral debut novel, a 1945 Spanish cult classic, has been given new life by acclaimed translator Grossman. The story follows 18-year-old Andrea as she spends a year with crazy relatives in a squalid, ramshackle townhouse on Calle de Aribau in post-Civil War Barcelona. Although Andrea is young, she isn't adventurous or carefree like others her age, and much of the action takes place within her extended family's dank flat or along the melancholic city streets immediately surrounding it. But the narrative is no less interesting because of this, as it leaves plenty of room for the larger-than-life characters that occupy the house to fully flex their gross vitality and charming decrepitude. The violent Uncle Juan and his manic wife, Aunt Gloria; the crusty, devilish, magnetic violinist, Uncle Román; insanely embittered Aunt Angustias; and an oblivious, antiquated grandmother each offer up their own chaotic storylines, while perfectly balancing Andrea's stoic, ruminative personality. To compliment their frenetic vignettes, Andrea's narration is gorgeously expressive, rippling with emotion and meaning. U.S.-bound fans of European lit will welcome this Spanish Gothic to the States with open arms and a half-exasperated, 'What took you so long?'" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In Barcelona, in the wake of the Spanish Civil War, Andrea, a young university student, moves into a strange, gothic house inhabited by a volatile array of aunts and uncles in order to attend college and finds herself coping with her cruelly sensual musician uncle Romn, his violent brother Juan, her overbearing and religious aunt Angustias, and aunt Gloria, who supports the family with her secret gambling. 10,000 first printing.
About the Author
Carmen Laforet (1921-2004) had a profound impact on Spanish literature. Her debut novel, Nada
, was awarded the first Premio Nadal in 1944. She is also wrote a collection of short stories and five other novels, including Al doblar la esquina (Around the Block)
and La mujer nueva (The New Woman)
, which won Spains National Prize for Literature in 1955.
Edith Grossman is the distinguished translator of works by many other Spanish and Latin American writers, including Miguel de Cervantes, Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Álvaro Mutis. She is the recipient of two Translation of the Year awards from the American Literary Translators Association, and the 2006 PEN Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation. She lives in New York City.
Mario Vargas Llosa is one of Latin Americas preeminent fiction writers and essayists. His novels include The Feast of the Goat, The Notebooks of Don Rigoberto, and Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter.