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War, So Much War
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Open Letter 2015
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Featured on Jeff VanderMeer's "Epic List of Favorite Books Read in 2015"

"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.

Maruxa Relaño is a journalist and translator based in Barcelona. She has worked as a translator for The Wall Street Journal, a writer for NY1, and wrote articles for the New York Daily News, Newsday, and New York magazine, among other publications.

Martha Tennent was born in the U.S, but has lived most of her life in Barcelona where she served as founding dean of the School of Translation and Interpreting at the University of Vic. She translates from Spanish and Catalan, and received an NEA Translation Fellowship for her work on Rodoreda.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
10/19/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781940953236
ASIN:
B0140EELQA

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APA Citation (style guide)

Mercè Rodoreda. (2015). War, So Much War. Open Letter.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Mercè Rodoreda. 2015. War, So Much War. Open Letter.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Mercè Rodoreda, War, So Much War. Open Letter, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Mercè Rodoreda. War, So Much War. Open Letter, 2015.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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Date Added:
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shortDescription

Featured on Jeff VanderMeer's "Epic List of Favorite Books Read in 2015"

"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...

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title
War, So Much War
fullDescription

Featured on Jeff VanderMeer's "Epic List of Favorite Books Read in 2015"

"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.

Maruxa Relaño is a journalist and translator based in Barcelona. She has worked as a translator for The Wall Street Journal, a writer for NY1, and wrote articles for the New York Daily News, Newsday, and New York magazine, among other publications.

Martha Tennent was born in the U.S, but has lived most of her life in Barcelona where she served as founding dean of the School of Translation and Interpreting at the University of Vic. She translates from Spanish and Catalan, and received an NEA Translation Fellowship for her work on Rodoreda.

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reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        September 21, 2015
        Often considered the most important Catalan novelist of the 20th century, Rodoreda (Death in Spring) explores life during the Spanish Civil War in a unique coming-of-age story. Feeling suffocated living at home with his parents in Barcelona, Adrià Guinart runs away with a friend to become a soldier. However, the pair is quickly separated, and an attack on the soldier camp leaves Adrià alone and wandering the woods. He eventually decides to leave the fighting and sets out on an aimless journey, roaming from village to village, stumbling into situations that challenge his perception of the world. During his trip, Adrià often loses himself in the stories of those he meets, and this prompts him to become more reflective and aware. The young protagonist confronts mortality and witnesses how “the rumblings of war” can reach even remote areas of a nation, and how those affected can become cruel. Adrià’s memories surface within his narration, complementing the novel’s quick and fluid structure. The war described in this book is mostly internal, and the large conflicts are more conceptual—young and old, life and death, present and past. Rodoreda’s dreamy, poetic prose is served well by Relaño and Tennent’s remarkable translation. A significant entry among the works in the Catalan language.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        September 1, 2015
        A boy runs away to join the war and tells the horrific tales of his incessant travels. Rodoreda's last novel creates a nightmare world inhabited by Adria Guinart, a 15-year-old who leaves "the prison of [his] home" with his friend Rossend. They become separated, and Adria begins an endless journey, with the destruction and death of war always near. The story plays out in a series of encounters with iconic characters-the hanged man, the miller's wife, a wise man, a hermit-all within a stark landscape reminiscent of Kafka and the fantastical apparitions of Garcia Marquez. It's a series of fairy tales held together by the narrative of a boy wandering a mythical world. Then the novel takes a different turn with a Gothic interlude. Adria is taken into a house where Senyor Ardevol and his housekeeper, Senyora Isabel, care for him, sheltering him from his nightmares in which "Death, with green teeth, sat on the belly of a cloud." There is respite, and a family atmosphere, except for Ardevol's being consumed by an old mirror in the hallway where he sees disembodied eyes next to his own reflection. Adria reads the papers left to him after Ardevol's death and pieces together the story of his life. When he forgoes the inheritance left him by the dead man, the story of wandering the bleak landscape resumes, and Adria continues on his way to witness "everything that I had just seen but did not exist." Poetic, mythical, literate, laced with allusions to the world's literature, this novel is a stew in which the flavors never quite come together.

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        December 1, 2015

        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 story of Adria Guinart, who abandons a boring life in Barcelona to join the war effort (which war is not stated) but gets lost and roams the countryside, encountering a wide array of surreal characters. None is unscarred by the larger war, from the girl who swims in the river and prods the dead bodies of floating soldiers so they won't get stuck among the rushes and rot to the bricklayer forced to gaze upon the bombed-out masonry of his former home. Nature, hunger (Adria lives on pine nuts and blackberries), and death all contrive to drive home for us the ubiquity of evil. VERDICT Rodoreda's clear, clean prose, rendered so capably into English by Relano and Tennent, creates a mood of desperation that will engage the contemplative reader more than the casual one.--Jack Shreve, Chicago

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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