“…and I let out a shriek from hell. A shriek I carried inside me for many years so with that shriek… an insignificant detail escaped from my mouth, and that insignificant detail that lived inside me for so long was my youth…”
The voice of the narrator, Natàlia, is unique in global literature: after a few sentences you accept her as a sister, friend, relative, dear neighbor… In a direct and dynamic way, she introduces you right away to Barcelona during the 1930s and the Second Spanish Republic. Written from the first person perspective, with a language that at first seems unusual yet authentic, also naïve, the novel follows a stream of consciousness, purified from everything superfluous. The reader learns only what is happening to the hero and what is inside her from her perspective.
Natàlia, a girl of humble origin, meets an unknown young man at the Diamond Square festivity who, in spite of her initial dislike of him, charms her. Natàlia and Quimet soon get married, live in a modest house, enjoy the little things, have two children. After a while Quimet’s pigeon breeding becomes an obsession and the entire family suffers because of it. Natàlia is desperate, but as her good friend, senyora Enriqueta, always tells her: “My dear, all of this is life.”
Mercè Rodoreda is the most significant Catalan novelist of the 20th century, and the novel In Diamond Square is a master-piece of European literature – translated into more than 30 languages. Rodoreda wrote in Catalan, and lived in exile since 1939.
“The most beautiful novel published in Spain after the Civil war.”
Gabriel García Márquez
Author: Mercè Rodoreda
Translator: Boris Dumančić