War, So Much War by Mercè Rodoreda

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"Rodoreda had bedazzled me by the sensuality with which she reveals things within the atmosphere of her novels."—Gabriel García Marquez

"Rodoreda plumbs a sadness that reaches beyond historic circumstances . . . an almost voluptuous vulnerability."—Natasha Wimmer, The Nation

"It is a total mystery to me why [Rodoreda] isn't widely worshipped; along with Willa Cather, she's on my list of authors whose works I intend to have read all of before I die. Tremendous, tremendous writer."—John Darnielle, The Mountain Goats

Despite its title, there is little of war and much of the fantastic in this coming-of-age story, which was the last novel Mercè Rodoreda published during her lifetime.

We first meet its young protagonist, Adrià Guinart, as he is leaving Barcelona out of boredom and a thirst for freedom, embarking on a long journey through the backwaters of a rural land that one can only suppose is Catalonia, accompanied by the interminable, distant rumblings of an indefinable war. In vignette-like chapters and with a narrative style imbued with the fantastic, Guinart meets with numerous adventures and peculiar characters who offer him a composite, if surrealistic, view of an impoverished, war-ravaged society and shape his perception of his place in the world.

As in Rodoreda's Death in Spring, nature and death play an fundamental role in a narrative that often takes on a phantasmagoric quality and seems to be a meditation on the consequences of moral degradation and the inescapable presence of evil.

Mercè Rodoreda (1908–1983) is widely regarded as the most important Catalan writer of the twentieth century. Exiled in France and Switzerland following the Spanish Civil War, Rodoreda began writing the novels and short stories—Twenty-Two Short Stories, The Time of the Doves, Camellia Street, Garden by the Sea—that would eventually make her internationally famous.

 

About Mercè Rodoreda

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Merce Rodoreda (1908-1983) is widely regarded as the most important Catalan writer of the twentieth century. Rodoreda began writing short stories as an escape from an unhappy early marriage, and in the early 1930s she began publishing political articles and wrote four early novels. Exiled in France and Switzerland following the Spanish Civil War, Rodoreda began writing the novels and short stories--Twenty-two Short Stories, The Times of the Doves, Camellia Street, Garden by the Sea--that would eventually make her internationally famous, while at the same time earning a living as a seamstress. In the mid-1960s she returned to Catalonia, where she continued to write. Death in Spring was published posthumously, and is translated into English for the first time here. Martha Tennent, a translator from Catalan and Spanish, was born in the United States, but has lived most of her life in Barcelona. She recently translated the novel "The Violin of Auschwitz" by Maria ngels Anglada.
 
Published October 19, 2015 by Open Letter. 220 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Action & Adventure, War, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for War, So Much War

Writing the gold standard of 20th-century Catalan literature, Rodoreda (1908–83) lived in exile in France and Switzerland following the Spanish Civil War and began writing fiction while working as a seamstress. This 1980 novel, the last the author published in her lifetime, is the coming-of-age s...

Dec 01 2015 | Read Full Review of War, So Much War