The Catalan modern classic, first published in 1985, now in its 50th edition, for the first time in English.
The beginning of the 20th century: 13-year-old Conxa leaves her home village in the Pyrenees to work for her childless aunt. After years of hardship she finds love with Jaume — a love that will be thwarted by the Spanish Civil War. Approaching her own death, Conxa looks back on a life in which she has lost everything except her own indomitable spirit.
Why Peirene chose to publish this book: ‘I fell in love with Conxa's narrative voice, its stoic calmness and the complete lack of anger and bitterness. It's a timeless voice, down to earth and full of human contradictory nuances. It's the expression of someone who searches for understanding in a changing world but senses that ultimately there may be no such thing.’ Meike Ziervogel
‘Sparse and haunting.’ Katy Guest, Independent
‘The compression is so deft, the young narrator's voice so strong, so particular, her straightforward evocation of the hard labour and rare pleasures of mountain life . . . so vibrant, that it makes me want to take scissors to everything else I read.’ Richard Lea, Guardian
‘A Pyrenean life told in a quietly effective voice.’ Daniel Hahn, Independent
‘There is an understated power in Barbal’s depiction of how the forces of history can shape the life of the powerless.’ Adrian Turpin, Financial Times
‘A masterpiece of world literature and a shining example of the virtuosity of elegant and concise prose.’ Pam Norfolk, Lancashire Evening Post
‘Air-tight believability.’ Matthew Tree, Times Literary Supplement
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