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A Woman Unknown

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  99 ratings  ·  12 reviews
This beautifully nuanced memoir is a profound meditation on the three cultures-Spanish, English, and Catalan-that have shaped Lucia Graves's life and thought. It is also a complex portrait of Spain under Franco. The author explores the patterns of love, sacrifice, and forbearance that mark not only her own life but those of many other Spanish women she has known.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published November 8th 2001 by Counterpoint (first published 1999)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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Mar 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: autobiography
Whilst reading about the First World War last year, Robert Graves inevitably crossed my path. I discovered that one of his daughters, Lucia, was also a writer and a translator. So, knowing very little about her, I ordered this on a whim and I am very glad I did.
This is an autobiographical work, but told in an interesting way. The first two thirds of the chapters pick out a particular woman in Lucia’s early life and focuses on her and does so very effectively. Graves was brought up on the island
Apr 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone that loves prose regardless of topic and anyone who loves Spain.
Recommended to Deborah by: My Dad
Stunning prose - this is a really delicious read. Lucia Graves' mastery of language left me drooling over her descriptions and I just felt 'better' after reading this gorgeous book.
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
4 1/2 stars really. Beautiful.
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Veronica by: chaiselongue
Shelves: non-fiction
I derived deep enjoyment from reading this book. Lucia Graves, daughter of the poet and novelist Robert Graves, grew up in Mallorca, went to university in Oxford, and then married a Catalan and brought up her family in a village just outside Barcelona. This position gives her a unique and piercing insight into Catalan culture and society during and after the Franco years -- both an inside view, from her Mallorcan childhood and education in a Catholic school, like any other young Spanish girl, ...more
Ilse Wouters
Autobiografisch boek van de hand van Lucía Graves, dochter van... . Van het opgroeien in het Mallorca van de jaren 50 tot het leven tijdens de dictatuur van Franco over de transitiejaren naar het moderne Catalonië / Spanje...interessant en de nostalgie druipt van het boek af, maar om de een of andere reden kan de "loop" van het boek me niet echt boeien. Het lijken me eerder hoofdstukken met elk een eigen thema dan een "globaal" verhaal. Ik denk verder dat het feit dat ik dit boek in het ...more
Julie Thomason
Apr 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was fascinating and worthwhile. I lived for over twenty years in Spain from post transition to fully fledged EU member. I was able to resonate with her experiences within a Spanish family, ruled by rigid rules in contrast to the modernity on the outside. This book was a breath of fresh air and in fact liberating for me. Beautifully written and a compelling read. I can still remember her comments on the Spanish custom of buying books by the meter. A set of books, with matching covers, to fit ...more
Apr 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
A beautifully written memoir/autobiography by Lucia Graves, the daughter of the famous poet and novelist, and a talented writer in her own right. She gives a fascinating account of her life, from her British heritage, to her Spanish schooling during the time of Franco, to her life in Catalonia as the wife of a Catalan - and all the bits in between. What I found especially interesting were the complexities involved in trying to come to terms with her identity and sense of belonging in such a ...more
Aug 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Lucia Graves is Robert Graves' (the Claudius novels and poetry, etc.) daughter. I like the way she goes about this memoir, telling stories of everyday people she met living in Spain, where she spent most of her life. Lots I, of course, never knew about Franco and life after his revolution and, through the memories of others, life in the 30s and during the Second World War. Some very nice snapshots.
Tim and Popie Stafford
Very well written memoir of Spain and Catalonia. Graves comes off as somebody hard to like--she's pretty often miserable and terribly introspective. But her description of Spain, the impact of the Civil War and the Franco dictatorship, and the mindset of Catalonia are all quite vivid and personal.
Becky Mears
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Re read this book about the life of Lucia Graves, daughter of Robert Graves. She grew up in mallorca and lived and brought up children in Barcelona. It's a great insight into Catalonia and the feeling behind Catalan independence.
Apr 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People interested in Franco-era Spain, the island of Majorca, Catalan, and translation.
Shelves: spain
I managed to avoid Spanish history as a Spanish major in favor of Latin American literature. This book served as a great introduction to Spanish geography and history w/ a special focus on Franco-era Spain as presented through the eyes of Lucia Graves, daughter of the poet Robert Graves.
Jun 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book by the daughter of Robert Graves. She had many of the same struggles that I had as a multicultural woman.
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Jan 16, 2016
Susanna Polakov
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May 13, 2018
Elizabeth Hensley
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Feb 27, 2016
Mark Hill
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Sep 03, 2017
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May 25, 2015
Jo Sandgren
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Nov 14, 2010
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Feb 24, 2013
Juan Buades
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Aug 19, 2017
Janet Burtt
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Oct 13, 2019
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Oct 22, 2017
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Feb 03, 2019
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Oct 14, 2017
Danielle McClellan
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Nov 17, 2016
Molly Furnival
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Oct 21, 2018
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Jan 05, 2019
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Jan 17, 2016
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Aug 17, 2011
Joost Perreijn
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Feb 16, 2014
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The Cemetery of L...: Memoir of translator, Lucia Graves. 2 17 Nov 20, 2017 12:48PM  

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Lucia Graves was born in England in 1943, but was taken to Mallorca by her parents in 1946, after the end of WWII. She studied in Switzerland, England and Spain, and graduated in Modern Languages from St. Anne’s College, Oxford. In 1967 she married a Catalan musician and settled in Spain, living mainly in Barcelona. They had three daughters. Lucia currently lives in London with her second husband. ...more