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Nada: A Novel (Modern Library Classics) Paperback – February 12, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
The setting might be Barcelona, Spain, but there is something alarmingly universal about a girl's attempt to overcome the limitations of her family and discover who she is through university-level study. How does a young woman create herself under adverse circumstances? (It's a kind of third-world story that also happens in the so-called first-world.) Early in the novel, Andrea's Aunt Angustias notes that Andrea went to a sort of high school run by nuns, but that it was in a village (one assumes where scholarly achievement was not expected); and we learn that the Barcelona home of her grandmother (with miserable aunt and uncles) is her only chance of creating herself, of attending a university, and escaping through studying literature. In the course of the year, Andrea must navigate some extremely uncomfortable emotions; she loses her best friend, Ena (but finds her again, later). Boyfriends elude her. The irony of all such novels is that it's the horrible family who gives the author the story (in which case there are no villains, only fellow victims). This notion is fully realized in her often vile Uncle Roman, who plays the violin so poignantly that you can hear it in Laforet's words, Grossman's elegant translation.Read more ›
I don't give many books 5 stars. Most that I really like get 4. Yet there was something about this book that merited this response. I am sad that more young people do not read this book. Then again, I find that Spanish history isn't covered very much in American schools. More English/French and then later Germany/Russia, but not Iberia. Perhaps that has something to do with it.
If I had read this when I was younger I suspect it would have been one of those books I kept rereading growing up. As it is, I will reread it again at some point.
I also agree with others that this book captures the feel of Barcelona. If you like this, try Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
I always wonder what else people read when they love/hate books because I wonder if I would agree with their review or not. Sometimes the things that lead people to give a book a good score would lower its score in my eyes or vice versa. So in that spirit, here's a bit about my reading habits to help you sort that out - I read a lot of European and Asian literature. I don't like most things that make the US Bestseller lists. I do love good mysteries for fun, and some speculative literature. I don't watch much tv.
Nada is bleak, but Andrea's cool, somewhat detached first-person narrative makes the dark situation more bearable. Edith Grossman's translation vividly evokes the beauty and mystery of Barcelona, along with its decrepitude. More than the flesh-and-blood characters in this novel, Barcelona is a living, breathing force. This is an enjoyable read, particularly for those interested in Barcelona and its history.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This product was the best and is highly recommended to be purchased. Please go out and get it just for a good read if not for school.Published 16 months ago by Shelton Rankin
The best book written in Spain during the Franco era. A kind of gothic coming of age story of an 18 year old orphaned young woman who comes to live with her grandmother, uncles and... Read morePublished 18 months ago by mary knuth
I read this for my Spanish class and was really enchanted with this edition. I am now a big fan of Laforet's work and want to read more Spanish literature.Published 20 months ago by TJM
The book came exactly as described/pictured. I needed this book for a class, and it came within the time I needed it by.Published 20 months ago by pearlgirl917
Carmen Laforet wrote with a quiet beauty. Not really poetic, just an understated elegance. Even the more dramatic or violent scenes have a quieter feeling than you'd expect. Read morePublished on September 4, 2013 by Someone Else
Bought this for a class I was taking and ended up dropping the class. Anybody want to buy a book?Published on November 9, 2012 by Kelly Kelly