by Rebecca, May 26, 2005 5:54 PM
I've worked in the literature section for almost eight years, and the beauty of Powell's is in the opportunity to discover, time and again, an author that you've never heard of before, one that sits on a bottom shelf close to the floor gathering dust, and to have this author's work speak to you in such a profound way that you take it as a sign some kind of god must exist. This is how I feel about Mercé Rodoreda. She was Catalan, born in Barcelona in 1909, and lived through the Spanish Civil War, coming out on the losing side. Books in Catalan were burned, and the language was not allowed to be spoken. Set in wartime Spain, The Time of the Doves is the simple story of a young shop girl who struggles just to live and seeks to establish her identity amidst the cruelties of a country at war. Rodoreda's style of writing is stream of consciousness, words on top of words, and the effect is hypnotic. Her prose is sensual, though not at all in a flowery way; rather, there's a firmness and physicality in her language which beautifully illuminates the ordinary through the graceful, almost childlike, openness of the narrator. I recommend reading this book in one sitting if you have the chance. May it linger in you as it did in me.