The Selected Stories of Mercè Rodoreda

Merce Rodoreda, Author, Martha Tennent, Translator
Mercè Rodoreda, trans. from the Catalan by Martha Tennent, Open Letter (Univ. of Nebraska, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-934824-31-3
Reviewed on: 12/20/2010
Release date: 02/01/2011
Ebook - 255 pages - 978-1-934824-53-5
Open Ebook - 978-1-322-39165-6
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Rodoreda (Death in Spring) died at age 75 in 1983, and these passionate stories, selected from her three collections, are set mostly in unnamed provincial European towns and plunge the reader into a narrative maelstrom of longing and loss. Women agonizing in love, characters waiting for life to open to them, wives stricken by the faithlessness of adored husbands, the unsuspecting husband of "Nocturnal" who is pulled into a German wartime drinking fest on the way to finding a phone to call a doctor for his sick wife—these are Rodoreda's troubled protagonists. In "Threaded Needle," a frustrated seamstress frets at the passing of time without a husband and secure future in sight, allowing herself to imagine killing the sick cousin she has been saddled with the care of; he has promised to leave her his inheritance. In "Friday, June 8" a homeless girl ties a rock around her newborn baby's neck—the product of a rape—and tosses it into a river. These are riveting tales by a master in the trenches. (Feb.)