Memoirs of Leticia Valle

Rosa Chacel, Author, Carol Maier, Photographer, Carol Maier, Translator University of Nebraska Press $27.95 (201p) ISBN 978-0-8032-1456-9
In this dynamic work, Chacel paints a powerful and disturbing portrait of a precocious girl's coming of age. First published in Spain in 1945, and appearing in English for the first time in a clear and sensitive translation, the story reads like a diary in which Leticia, obsessed with her fast-approaching twelfth birthday, chronicles her life. This imaginative, introspective girl lives with her aunt and alcoholic father in the village of Simancas and contemplates life, death, truth, meaning and language in a way that belies her young age. She begins studying with the local archivist and quickly develops a passionate but complex relationship with him and his wife. She seduces them both, creating a tension that inevitably explodes. But don't expect precise detail: sensory memories take precedence over the mundane. Though Leticia's recollections are so allusive that what happened at the archivist's house is never explained, the often dense and abstruse narrative is always lucid. Maier's afterword helps illuminate the plot and provides a historical and literary context in which to interpret the text, making important connections to Dostoyevski and Freud. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/03/1994
Release date: 01/01/1994
Paperback - 201 pages - 978-0-8032-6360-4
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