Mondays are now Read This! days on which I’ll write about books that I really, really want everyone in the world to read. With so many great books in the world, I can’t imagine ever running out of material!
Spanish writer Carmen Laforet had a huge success at the age of 23 with her first novel, “Nada,” becoming the first winner of the Premio Eugenio Nadal for her book in 1944. Her chief protagonist, Andrea, leaves her village to go to the big city for university: Barcelona, as Laforet herself did. There, she lives with her extended and remarkably dysfunctional family of aunts, uncles, and her demented grandmother. Professor Estrella Cibreiro of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA has a scholarly analysis of the novel here.
“Nada” is a great, fun read in Spanish and, happily, was translated into English a couple of years ago by Edith Grossman, successor to Gregory Rabassa as the preeminent Spanish-English translator. Grossman wrote a book on translation, “Why Translation Matters,” after landing and completing an assignment to translate Cervantes’s “Don Quijote” into English.
Laforet is another writer who studied law; she dropped out of law school to write “Nada.” Though she did write a few other books and short stories, Spanish literati sometimes joke that “after ‘Nada,’ she wrote nada.”
A complete list of the winners of the Premio Eugenio Nadal is here.
What book would you like to tell everyone in the world to read?