A Broken Mirror

Overview

In its moment of great splendor the novel was held as a mirror of society: Mercè Rodoreda shatters that mirror in this, her most ambitious novel, which tells its story in brilliant fragments, a vision reflected and refracted and finally coming together in a richly articulated mosaic of life. Through this Broken Mirror, the reader sees events and characters spanning three generations and composing a kaleidoscopic family history ranging over six decades and turning upon events ...

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Overview

In its moment of great splendor the novel was held as a mirror of society: Mercè Rodoreda shatters that mirror in this, her most ambitious novel, which tells its story in brilliant fragments, a vision reflected and refracted and finally coming together in a richly articulated mosaic of life. Through this Broken Mirror, the reader sees events and characters spanning three generations and composing a kaleidoscopic family history ranging over six decades and turning upon events both intimate and historic—most notably the Spanish Civil War.

Opening with Teresa Goday, the lovely young fishmonger’s daughter married to a wealthy old man, the story shifts from one perspective to another, reflecting from myriad angles the founding of a matriarchal dynasty—and its eventual, seemingly inevitable disintegration. A family saga extending from the prosperous Barcelona of the 1870s to the advent of the Franco dictatorship, A Broken Mirror is finally also a novel about the inexorable passing of time.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Three generations of a family flourish and decline in Barcelona. Separated into three parts, and narrated from multiple perspectives, ranging from that of a vitiated aristocrat to a discontented servant, the story begins in the late-19th century and follows the fortunes of Teresa Goday, her children and her grandchildren through the revolution and the rise of Franco. Teresa, a charming gold-digger, secures for herself two wealthy husbands and a beautiful villa. An essentially goodhearted worker, Teresa is larger than life, managing to please her husbands, seduce their friends and ensure the loyalty of her servants, all the while stockpiling a fortune for her daughter and her illegitimate son. Yet this carefree, exuberantly romantic woman produces a severe, uncompromising daughter, who in turn produces a weak-willed son. Once Teresa's grandson is of an age to head the family, he has succumbed to depression and lives in poverty. The villa Teresa secured for her family falls into disrepair and passes from her family's control. Most captivating is how the author reveals the inner life of her characters precisely and unsentimentally, often merely with a well-turned sentence. The prose is rich, almost lush, but it is also impersonal, without artificial or romanticized descriptions of an ideal past or a lost future. Rodoreda is also perfectly attuned to the differences in each narrative voice: Teresa's sections are sensuous and ambitious, imaginative and fresh, for example, while the servants' narratives are at once sullen, admiring, respectful and angry. Equally arresting is the acute depiction of how people confront the physical and mental ruin of passing time; this is the thread that uniteseach of the sections more surely than the family resemblances, which becomes harder and harder to discern in each passing generation. Beautifully muted and intricate rendering of the aristocracy of Barcelona.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803290075
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2006
  • Series: European Women Writers Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 226
  • Sales rank: 1,437,538
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Mercè Rodoreda (1908–1983) has emerged as perhaps the most important fiction writer of the twentieth century in Catalan literature and is one of the most interesting writers of the contemporary Spanish literary world. She is primarily known in this country for her novel The Time of the Doves, published in English translation. Josep Miquel Sobrer is a professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Indiana University. The editor of Catalan Review, he has also edited and translated an anthology of Catalan texts, Catalonia: A Self-Portrait.

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