the dazzling complexities of Mercè Rodoreda

Stories_highresColm Tóibín at the TLS:

Rodoreda was born in Barcelona in 1908. At the age of twenty, having received ecclesiastical permission, she married her mother’s younger brother. They had one son. Between the early 1930s and the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, she published several novels and pieces of short fiction, all in Catalan. In 1935 she began work for the Catalan Ministry of Information. Franco’s victory in the war forced her to go into exile, first outside Paris but then, as a result of the Nazi occupation, elsewhere in France. Before she left Spain, she broke up with her first husband. After much difficulty and hardship, she finally settled in Geneva, returning to Catalonia in 1979 where she died four years later.

In her best fiction, she allows the details to speak for themselves; the mind through which the world is seen is almost naive, almost detached. This means that much is achieved or hinted at by tone, through rhythm, by coiled implication. The world is viewed as though helplessly, as if it might not bear the weight of much analysis. It is up to the reader to understand the extent of the suffering, the quality of the pain. The less these things are actively named, the more deeply they will be evoked.

more here.