Nada

Carmen Laforet

translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman
The Modern Library 2007 [1945]
A book review by Danny Yee © 2007 http://dannyreviews.com/
Coming to Barcelona in the early 1940s to attend university, the eighteen year old Andrea stays with her family: a grandmother, an aunt, two uncles, one with a wife and infant, and a maid. Clinging to middle-class respectability despite their poverty, taking sometimes desperate measures to preserve appearances, theirs is an enclosed world in which personal antagonisms and long-held resentments fester.

At university Andrea befriends the vivacious Ena, whose life seems a world apart from the claustrophobic family apartment, and joins a group of would-be avant-garde students. But then Ena becomes involved with her family, with disastrous results.

Written when Carmen Laforet was herself in her early twenties, and published in 1944, Nada is a direct and intimate account of a young woman encountering the wider world. It is set against the backdrop of a society traumatised by the Civil War, in a Barcelona whose streets retain an air of danger, and the family's situation and story are bleak, but Andrea's youthful hope and core humanity remain unscathed. Nada is a an engaging novel, and ultimately a positive one.

December 2007

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%T Nada
%A Laforet, Carmen
%M Spanish
%F Grossman, Edith
%I The Modern Library
%D 2007 [1945]
%O hardcover
%G ISBN-13 9780679643456
%P 244pp