The Year of the Flood

Eduardo Mendoza

translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor
Harvill Press 1996
A book review by Danny Yee © 2003
Sister Consuelo is the confident young Mother Superior of a convent hospital outside the village of San Ubaldo de Bassora, in Catalonia. When she approaches local landowner Augusto Aixela, seeking money to refurbish the hospital as an old people's home, her life is turned upside down. Aixela takes a surprising interest in the project, they continue to meet, and eventually, gripped by unfamiliar passion, she gives herself up to him. She sends a letter of resignation to her superiors, explaining what she has done and asking to be transferred far away, but her path then crosses that of a notorious bandit...

The other characters are finely sketched, but The Year of the Flood is essentially a portrait of a strong, honest woman in the throes of obsessive love, struggling with its accompanying distortions, contrivances, and self-deceptions. In the end she fails to free herself, but succeeds in transmuting the sordid into the sublime. The Year of the Flood is also a fable of village life and politics in Catalonia in the 1950s, set in a year of terrible flooding. It is a short novel, but a memorable one.

June 2003

External links:
- buy from or
Related reviews:
- Eduardo Mendoza - The Truth About the Savolta Case
- more Spanish literature
- books published by Harvill Press
%T The Year of the Flood
%A Mendoza, Eduardo
%M Spanish
%F Caistor, Nick
%I Harvill Press
%D 1996 [1992]
%O paperback
%G ISBN 1860460453
%P 118pp