I read this book in the right time and in the right place. As it was a present coming from a dear friend of mine, thumbs up for Giulia!
But let's suppI read this book in the right time and in the right place. As it was a present coming from a dear friend of mine, thumbs up for Giulia!
But let's suppose that I crushed into "All Souls" just a couple of years ago when I was far from Oxford and completely unaware of going to settle up there in a few months time.
Well, in that case, I would have thought that this novel was well written and Marias certainly got brains, but would not praise much else.
For "All Souls" is a sort of diary, a personal account on Oxford in the 1980s as seen from a Spanish visiting professor. The observations, notes and reflections of the author are either profound or frivolous, but always well focused and straight to the point.
And yet, without knowing Oxford, without having lived in Oxford most of what Marias wrote could sound rather pointless. Lucky me, then. I saw the dons walking around in apparent hurry. I met the beggars on the pavements. I investigated through the shelves of the bookshops. And I even heard about the solemn high tables in the colleges' dining rooms. Marias was there and left.
There is a romance in this novel, yes. But it doesn't seem to matter. It's a temporary liaison, it's going nowhere and it stands in the background. The author is far more passionate while writing about the half-forgotten novelist Arthur Machen or about the railway station in Didcot.
I think this book looks at Oxford in a very good way: awe and nonchalance walk side by side.
Being quite ignorant on Spanish literature, I appreciated a lot the tip of one of my customers when I was a part time temporary bookseller.
Mercè RodoBeing quite ignorant on Spanish literature, I appreciated a lot the tip of one of my customers when I was a part time temporary bookseller.
Mercè Rodoreda's novel made me discover better a very important and dramatic chapter of Spanish recent history: the Civil War between Republicans and Nationalists. It has been very unusual for someone like me accustomed in knowing a relaxed and well fed Barcelona through Manuel Vasquez Montalban's books, finding a completely different city in "La Plaza del Diamante".
In Rodoreda's novel, Barcelona looks like a besieged town in which the streetlamps are covered by blue to prevent the bombings and only rich people can survive in a decent way. I confess how I found this historical context more interesting than the story itself which is, however, very well written.
It doesn't happen that often to find a so genuine feminine's perspective in literature. ...more