"Profundamente conmovedor y fascinante….una de las grandes clásicas de la literatura europea contemporánea." Carlos Ruiz Zafon, autor del bestseller La sombra del viento
"Un trabajo de genio [que recuerda] a Sartre y Camus a la vez más moderno y más vibrante." Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Una oscura obra de ficción hermosamente austere…Su inquietante relación con el clima politico y las actitudes sociales de la actualidad es dificíl de ignorar." San Fancisco Chronicle
"El espíritu de astuta resistencia que expresa la novela de Laforet…no ha perdido para nada su poder de persuasion." The New York Times Book Review
Laforet died in 2004, having published five more novels and a book of short stories. The seedy, lugubrious Barcelona she evoked in “Nada” is now vanished, given way to a chic metropolis famed for its avant-garde chefs and bijou bars. But the spirit of sly resistance that Laforet’s novel expresses, its heroine’s determination to escape provincial poverty and to immerse herself in “lights, noises, the entire tide of life,” has lost none of its power of persuasion.
The New York Times
That this complex, mature and wise novel was written by someone in her early 20s is extraordinary. The success it enjoyed seems to have weighed rather heavily on Laforet, whose subsequent five novels generally are regarded as less accomplished. But after six decades, this first novel has lost none of its power and originality, and we are fortunate to have it in this fine translation.
The Washington Post
Available in English for the first time in the U.S., Laforet's moody and sepulchral debut novel, a 1945 Spanish cult classic, has been given new life by acclaimed translator Grossman. The story follows 18-year-old Andrea as she spends a year with crazy relatives in a squalid, ramshackle townhouse on Calle de Aribau in post-civil war Barcelona. Although Andrea is young, she isn't adventurous or carefree like others her age, and much of the action takes place within her extended family's dank flat or along the melancholic city streets immediately surrounding it. But the narrative is no less interesting because of this, as it leaves plenty of room for the larger-than-life characters that occupy the house to fully flex their gross vitality and charming decrepitude. The violent Uncle Juan and his manic wife, Aunt Gloria; the crusty, devilish, magnetic violinist, Uncle Román; insanely embittered Aunt Angustias; and an oblivious, antiquated grandmother all offer up their own chaotic storylines, while perfectly balancing Andrea's stoic, ruminative personality. To compliment their frenetic vignettes, Andrea's narration is gorgeously expressive, rippling with emotion and meaning. U.S.-bound fans of European lit will welcome this Spanish gothic to the States with open arms and a half-exasperated, "What took you so long?" (Feb.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Published in 1944, now reissued in a new translation, this influential first novel by prize-winning Spanish author Laforet (1921-2004) describes one hellish year in the life of a young woman. In the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, orphaned 18-year-old Andrea travels from the provinces to Barcelona to attend university. Her childhood memories of her grandparents' apartment are good, so it comes as a bitter surprise when she finds herself plunged into bedlam. Her widowed grandmother is sweet but feeble. Her uncles Juan and Roman are at each other's throats. Their sister Angustias is a relentless scold. Juan's young wife Gloria is foolish and vain. The war is mentioned only obliquely, though it had a direct effect on Roman, who was imprisoned and tortured; now he's engaged in unspecified smuggling, when he's not making trouble and playing his violin. At least Roman has talent-unlike Juan, who turns out bad paintings when he's not beating Gloria. Andrea finds some relief on campus, where she becomes friendly with self-assured, manipulative Ena, and the apartment becomes marginally less claustrophobic when Aunt Angustias leaves to enter a convent. Still, privacy is nonexistent, food is scarce, and there's a disquieting new wrinkle when Ena starts visiting Roman. This is a Cinderella story without a Prince Charming; Andrea is invited to a party by Pons, a wealthy fellow student, but her acute self-consciousness prevents her from having a good time. Laforet's portrait of female vulnerability is vivid in its immediacy, but the text is repetitive and poorly structured. Ena's story, a compelling soap opera, threatens to eclipse the main narrative, and it seems like an easy out to close withAndrea leaving for Madrid to live with Ena. It's also a problem in a coming-of-age story to close with the narrator concluding that she is "taking nothing" from her nightmarish year. Any epiphany for Andrea, apparently, will come long after the novel ends. Poignant but not outstanding.