torsdag den 13. oktober 2016

The Back Room af Carmen Martín Gaite






C. vågner midt om natten ved at telefonen ringer. Halvt i søvne besvarer hun opkaldet, og kort tid efter står der en fremmed mand i hendes lejlighed. Hun har ingen anelse om, hvem han er, og om han i virkeligheden blot er en drøm, alligevel lukker hun ham ind. Hun trækkes ind i en samtale med den mystiske mand og begynder at fortælle sin historie: en historie om at vokse op under den spanske borgerkrig og om at være kvinde i den såkaldte "Franco era". 

The Back Room er så tætpakket af ambiguitet, at det føles som at bevæge sig gennem en tåge, når man læser den. Forfatteren og fortælleren deler efternavn, ligesom de begge er født og opvokset samme tid og sted. På den måde ligner romanen et memoir, men er det alligevel på ingen måde. C. lider af insomnia og bevæger sig i en kronisk forvirring over, hvad hun har sagt, gjort og husket. Fortællingen er på den måde omgivet af et fiktivt slør, hvor man som læser aldrig helt kan føle sig sikker på retningen af fortællingen eller sandheden i det. Det skaber en helt unik stemning, som både fik mig til at tænke på Virginia Woolfs drømmeagtige scener og Bulgakovs magiske The Master and Magarita.  

I det drømmelignende univers Martín Gaites skaber, kombineres Spaniens historie med magi, og det resulterer i en fantastisk beretning spundet af minder. 




ENGLISH BELOW
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C. wakes up in the middle of the night when her phones starts ringing. She picks it up while still half asleep and minutes later a strange man shows up at her door. She has no idea if she is awake or if she is still dreaming but nevertheless lets him inside. She is then drawn into a conversation with the man and she starts telling him her story; a story of growing up under the Spanish civil war and of being a woman during the Franco era. 

The Back Room is so dense with ambiguity that it feels as if you're moving through a haze when reading it. The author and the narrator share the same surname and date of birth and in that sense the novel appears to be a memoir, yet it is not even close to being just that. C. suffers from insomnia and moves through a constant bewilderment of what she has said, done and remembered. In that way the story is surrounded by a fictitious wail, where you never know exactly where you're going or if there is any truth in it at all. This creates a very unique atmosphere which both got me thinking about Virginia Woolf's dreamy scenes and Bulgakov's magical The Master and Margarita. 

In the dreamy universe, Martín Gaites has created, Spain's history is combined with magic, and the result is an extraordinary tale woven by memories. 



8 kommentarer:

  1. Hi Ida,
    Your post sounds fascinating. As you described, the beginning of the novel seems to be really eery like a nightmare. The plot conflates private memories with Spain’s history and the author share surname, date of birth with the narrator. You wrote the atmosphere of the novel resembles the mood of Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita. It is a convincing statement. I remembered having the book stored on my bookshelf. It stood in the second row of compartment number 3. Now I put it in the first row. I should have a look again into the book again. It is fascinating to read that you also like this novel. My bookshop told me they could deliver „The Back Room“ within 14 days. Thank for your post.
    Best regards
    Wolfgang

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    1. Dear Wolfgang
      Thank you for your comment. It's good to hear from you again. Are you interested in Spanish history or is it more the personal account you find intriguing? For me it was mostly the latter although I'm starting to learn a lot more about Spain's history and it is definitely not boring.
      I hope you're well!
      Ida

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    2. Hi Ida,
      I have the same motives as you. I like to read novels about human behaviors under severe societal circumstances which are at the same time tightly bound to magical situations and psychological incidents and which are also linked to the real history, f.e. as described in Bulgakov's "Master" or in Zafons "The Shadow of the Wind." It is really perfect when you learn something about history by reading such novels because it causes you to engage deeper with historical events as you do.
      Best regards
      Wolfgang

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    3. Hello Wolfgang,

      It certainly sounds like you'll like The Back Room then. It is indeed very tightly woven together with both human behaviour and psychology and historical accounts. I have never read The Shadow of the Wind, but I've been told it's beautiful. Should I read it?
      All the best
      Ida

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    4. Hi Ida,
      Yes, I recommend to you reading the novel „The Shadow of the Wind.“ The plot is also settled in Spain of the Franco era. There such a dense fantastical atmosphere which is always pervaded by very realistic incidents. You will never lose the reference on the societal reality. At the beginning of the novel you‘ll accompany the figure Daniel to the cemetery of lost books, and there he chooses a book which is furthermore determined his life… It would be not clear did he choose the book or did the book pick him throughout the novel. I don’t reveal more.
      I’m so wondering how C.M. Gaite is telling her story because the background is also Franco’s Spain.
      Best regards
      Wolfgang
      PS: Belated Happy Birthday!

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  2. Hi Ida. Jeg har sendt dig en email. Jeg ved ikke om du har set den, og hvis du har, og ikke har interesse, så er det selvfølgelig i orden. Vil bare lige være sikker på, du har fået min forespørgsel.
    Vh. Sune.

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    1. Hej Sune.
      Jeg har svaret din mail. Jeg beklager forsinkelsen. Jeg håber, du har fået den? :-)
      Kh

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