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Nada By Carmen Laforet Is One Of The Most Significant Literary Works Produced In Spain After The Civil War. The Narrative Of An Orphaned Young Lady Leaving Her Little Community To Attend University In War-torn Barcelona Is Loosely Based On The Author’s Own Experiences.
Young Andrea, Who Lives In A Mystery Mansion On Calle De Aribau Among Genteel Poverty, Befriends An Affluent Group Of Classmates Who Provide A Vivid Contrast To The Destitution Of Her Home Life. Andrea Slowly Comes To Understand The Unsettling Truth About The Family Members She Lives With, Including Her Domineering And Superstitious Aunt Angustias,
Her Nihilistic But Artistically Talented Uncle Román, His Violent Brother Juan, And Juan’s Unsettlingly Attractive Wife Gloria, Who Secretly Gambles To Support The Clan. Andrea’s Intense Inner Journey, Which Included An Existential Crisis And A Maturing Maturity And Resolution, Has Made Her Wiser, Stronger, And Filled With Optimism For The Future.
Laforet’s Brilliant Narrative Is Brought To Life In A Crucial New Translation By The Outstanding Edith Grossman, Showing Its Dark, Potent Imagery And Its Subtle Comedy.
Additionally, Mario Vargas Llosa’s Introduction Sheds Light On Laforet’s Masterful Portrayal Of Life In The First Years Of The Franco Government. Carmen Laforet’s Classic Novel Is Set To Restore Its Status As One Of The Greatest Books Of The Twentieth Century In Europe Because Of Its Sharp Insight Into The Human Condition.
The Coming-of-age Tale Of Andrea, An Orphan Who Relocates From A Convent In Rural Spain To The Metropolis Of Barcelona, Is Told In Carmen Laforet’s First Book, Nada. Laforet’s First Work, Published To Enormous Acclaim In 1945 When He Was Just 23 Years Old, Received The Premio Nadal Literary Award. Nada Is Renowned For Its Skillful Depiction Of The Poverty, Social Inequality, And Personal Hardships Many Families Experienced Following The Spanish Civil War. It Does This Without Overtly Discussing Politics And Instead Presents A Realistic Picture Of Life Under Francisco Franco’s Regime.
After Learning That She Has Been Awarded A Full Scholarship By The Spanish Government, Andrea Leaves A Tranquil, Isolated Area Of Spain To Enrol In University At The Start Of The Book. She Goes In With Estranged Family Members Residing In Her Grandmother’s Flat In Calle De Aribau, Which Used To Be Wealthy But Is Now Quite Poor. They Include Gloria, A Determined Young Lady From A Poor Family Who Angustias Disapproves Of, And Her Uncle Juan, A Failing Painter Who Beats His Beautiful Young Wife, Gloria. Her Uncle Román Is An Eccentric, Once-famous Singer. Her Aunt Angustias Is A Domineering Catholic Woman. When Andrea First Moves In With Her Family, She Learns That Due To Her Grandfather’s Passing, They Were Forced To Sell Half Of The House And Move Their Belongings Into A Small, Confined Space. The Home Is In Disarray, Full Of Cobwebs, Dust, And Stacks Of Her Grandmother’s Exquisite Furniture, Which Gloria Is Selling To A Nearby Rag Trader Piece By Piece.
Fighting And Stress Are Common In The Home, Often As A Result Of Long-standing Disputes. Román And Juan Quarrel Because Román Had Had A Relationship With Gloria, Which Feeds An Underlying Creative And Romantic Envy. Angustias Eventually Leaves The House And Enters A Convent To Get Away From The Fighting And Her Remorse About Her Own Protracted, Tragic Romance With A Married Man.
Andrea Learns About The Shady Behaviour Of Her Relatives. One Evening, She Follows Her Uncle Juan As He Chases Gloria And Ends Up In Her Sister’s Bar. There, They Find Out That Gloria’s “Gaming” At The Bar Has Really Been The Source Of The Majority Of The Money Juan Has Allegedly Gained From Selling His Paintings, With The Notion That This “Gambling” Is Probably Only A Front For Gloria’s Prostitution. Román, Meantime, Makes Money By Selling Things On The Underground Market Without Authorization.
Andrea Becomes Friends With Ena, A Rich And Alluring Young Lady, At The University. Despite A Temporary Standstill Brought On By Their Different Social Standing, The Two Girls End Up Becoming Quite Close. Andrea Regularly Accompanies Ena And Her Boyfriend, Jaime, On Excursions And Frequently Has Supper With Ena’s Parents. Ena Is In Love With Jaime, But She Finally Ends Their Union And Starts Seeing Román, Andrea’s Uncle. In A Later Chapter Of The Book, Ena’s Mother Admits That She Once Dated Román When She Was A Teenager. Andrea Soon Finds Out That Ena Is Using Román As A Way Of Retaliation For The Years-old Abuse He Inflicted On Her Mother.
Ena’s Association With Román Causes Ena And Andrea To Grow Apart, So Andrea Turns To A New Friend Named Pons. Pons Interacts With A Group Of Young, Affluent Artists And Philosophers Who Live A Bohemian Lifestyle. As Andrea Gets To Know The Group More, She Understands That Pons Has Feelings For Her And That She May Be Able To Use Him To Leave Her Family Behind. She Ultimately Makes The Decision To Distance Herself From This Group Of Young Guys Since She Finds Them To Be Arrogant And Unsatisfactory.
Ena Breaks Up Her Fictitious Connection With Román At The Conclusion Of Nada, And Gloria Informs The Francoist Police About His Wrongdoings. Román Kills Himself After Being Dejected By Ena And Unable To Handle Being Jailed.
Ena Relocates To Madrid With Her Family. Soon Later, Andrea Gets An Invitation To Move In With Them Through Sms, Which She Accepts. Similar To How She Left For Barcelona At The Start Of The Book, Andrea Leaves Her Life In Barcelona And Moves To A New City At The Book’s Conclusion.
The Work Avoids The Positive Meaning-making Impulses Often Associated With The Bildungsroman Genre In Favour Of A More Open-ended Existentialist Outlook, Staying True To Its Title—nada Means “Nothing” In Spanish. Andrea Forgoes Several Conventional Signs Of Feminine Maturation Via Her Quest Of Self-discovery, Such As Angustias’s Etiquette Lessons And The Possibility Of A Love Engagement With Pons, And Instead Wanders Alone Through The Streets Of Barcelona. The Streets Of Nada Resemble “A Labyrinth That Has No [centre],” According To Reviewer Alberto Manguel In His Analysis Of The Novel In The Guardian. “At The Core Of Andrea’s Maze Lies The Emptiness That Gives The Book Its Title,” He Adds.
Since I First Learned About “Nada” By Carmen Laforet, I’ve Been Wanting To Read It. I Was Thrilled When Book Around The Corner’s Emma Proposed A Read-along. Because I Fell Into A Severe Reading Slump In The Latter Part Of July And Was Unable To Finish The Book, What Had Originally Been A Readalong For Spanish Literature Month In July Ended Up Being A Book I Read For Women In Translation Month In August. However, I Am Happy That I Was Able To Read It And Complete It Today.
In “Nada,” Our Narrator, A Young Lady Named Andrea, Travels By Train To Barcelona In The Dead Of Night. When She Gets To Her Family’ House, Everything Is Not At All What She Had Anticipated. Andrea Has Travelled To Barcelona To Attend School. At First, Her Family Treat Her Kindly, But Andrea Quickly Learns That There Are Problems. Angustias, Her Aunt, Seems To Be The Matriarch Of The Family And Is Someone To Respect And Follow. Then There Is Angustias’ Mother, Andreas’ Grandma. Then There Are Juan And Román, Two Of Angustias’ Brothers And Uncles Of Andreas. Then There Is Gloria, Juan’s Wife, And Their Kid. Then There Is Antonia, The Cook And Maid. There Are Daily Arguments, Temper Tantrums, Slanging Matches, And Fights Because There Are So Many Adults Living Together And Since It Is The Immediate Aftermath Of The Spanish Civil War, When Life Was Difficult. At The Middle Of All This Confusion, Andrea Enrols In A University And, After A Hesitant Beginning, Quickly Finds Friends. The Remainder Of The Book Describes Andrea’s Magnificent Experiences, The Ups And Downs Her Emotional Life Endures, And How She Navigates This Complicated Home Life With Her Family And Her Friends At University.
The Majority Of The Book’s Characters Are Intriguing. Of Course, I Adored Andrea, Our Narrator. Ena, Her Closest Friend, Is Also Lovely. Her Other Artists Who Often Paint Are Also Intriguing. Aunt Angustias Is Frightful, Gloria Is A Friend And Kind Of An Older Sister To Her, And Her Grandma Is Nice. The Most Of The Time, Juan Acts Insanely, Hitting And Threatening To Murder His Wife. We Are Unsure Of How To Feel About Román, The Mysterious Uncle Who Seems To Be Both Endearing And Threatening At The Same Time. One Of My Favourite Sections Of The Book Was The Whole Chapter Devoted To Andrea’s Closest Friend Ena’s Mother, Who Has A Little But Significant Role In The Narrative. One Of My Favourite Characters In The Narrative Was Ena’s Mother.
The Language Of Carmen Laforet Strikes The Ideal Harmony Between Lovely Words And Fluidity. Although The Pages Are Beautiful, They Also Move Quickly, Leaving Us Puzzled. It Is Such A Delight To Read Carmen Laforet’s Words And The Pictures She Creates. The Book Is Filled With Lovely Words That Are Scattered Throughout Like Pearls. Laforet Composed This Work When She Was Twenty-two Or Twenty-three Years Old. When I Became 23 Years Old, I Questioned What I Was Doing. Being Mostly Worthless, I Believe. While Laforet Was Producing This Lovely Piece Of Art.
Beautiful And Accurate, Edith Grossman’s Translation Is Superb. Sometimes It’s Difficult To Distinguish Between Laforet’s Original Writing And Grossman’s Translation.
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