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Nada Paperback – 7 Feb 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (7 Feb. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099494191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099494195
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 303,778 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"One of the great classics of contemporary European literature" (Carlos Ruiz Zafon author of The Shadow of the Wind)

"A story that Carmen Laforet narrates in prose both exalted and icy, in which what is unspoken is more important than what is said, keeping the reader of the novel submerged in indescribable anguish from beginning to end" (Mario Vargas Llosa)

"Laforet's voice is calm and clear...this remarkably sophisticated novel ...is unlike most Spanish literature of the time and before" (Michael Eaude Independent)

"A welcome rediscovery and a fascinating danse macabre" (Daily Mail)

"Laforet develops her narrative in a series of cataclysmic, operatic confrontations, in which no holds are barred. The language...is poetic, melodramatic, hyperbolic. Yet it never feels forced or ersatz... Nada is Zola-esque...what particularly impresses is the haunted atmosphere, the intensity of the paranoia and the unpredictability, and the Cinderella-eyed sensibility of it's heroine... A gothic horror story which deserves the widest possible readership" (Alan Taylor Sunday Herald)

Book Description

A modern Spanish classic, first published in Spain sixty years ago and translated into eighteen languages, and now available in a sparkling English translation, with a preface by Mario Vargas Llosa.

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Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jam Spaniel on 8 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback
Like 'the Shaker', I ordered the translation, believing it to be the original Spanish text. As a languages graduate and working translator and teacher, I found this to be a poor translation; however, I'd go further and say that it's an abysmal translation. I actually find it very hard to believe that Edith Grossman, of world renown, was the real translator. The style is clunking, inelegant and unpolished to such a degree that in parts it's very hard to understand what's actually going on. Worse, there are some pretty unforgivable mistranslations: 'Su reacción no se hizo esperar' means 'We didn't have to wait long for his reaction'; it doesn't mean 'His reaction was unexpected', as the translator thinks. More examples available on request! It's not all awful, but for me the very frequent bad bits made it unreadable.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By the Shaker on 6 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback
I had to buy this book for my spanish course at uni and accidentally bought the english version. But this way I was able to compare this version to the original. The book is good and well written but the translation in parts is not very good. It's good enough but doesn't represent perfectly what the spanish version says.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Cristina N. on 21 April 2010
Format: Paperback
enjoyed reading it but it did not say that is in english although the title on the cover is in spanish. made it difficult for me to get my quotes.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 0 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Viva! Carmen Laforet, an author so young and wise 28 April 2009
By T. M. Teale - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The setting is around 1941-42, after the Spanish Civil War, when Spain is not involved in World War II but feeling the claustrophobic and repressive aftermath of their national implosion. Other readers will have told you the plot of this novel, but the grand metaphor you need to know about Nada is that Andrea arrives in Barcelona at midnight, and the following year leaves in broad daylight. What joy!

The setting might be Barcelona, Spain, but there is something alarmingly universal about a girl's attempt to overcome the limitations of her family and discover who she is through university-level study. How does a young woman create herself under adverse circumstances? (It's a kind of third-world story that also happens in the so-called first-world.) Early in the novel, Andrea's Aunt Angustias notes that Andrea went to a sort of high school run by nuns, but that it was in a village (one assumes where scholarly achievement was not expected); and we learn that the Barcelona home of her grandmother (with miserable aunt and uncles) is her only chance of creating herself, of attending a university, and escaping through studying literature. In the course of the year, Andrea must navigate some extremely uncomfortable emotions; she loses her best friend, Ena (but finds her again, later). Boyfriends elude her. The irony of all such novels is that it's the horrible family who gives the author the story (in which case there are no villains, only fellow victims). This notion is fully realized in her often vile Uncle Roman, who plays the violin so poignantly that you can hear it in Laforet's words, Grossman's elegant translation.

As a final note, since this novel, Nada, has been brilliantly translated into an affordable Modern Library edition, university faculty should make it assigned reading (high school students will love this, too). But only now that I'm older, can I understand that Andrea gets an exquisite experience of Barcelona when she strolls (or runs) through the streets after dark: the cool air, the quiet, the stars in the night sky, "an anguished harmony without light," an aesthetic experience all her own. On a winter stroll, Andrea recounts, "Then I knew what I longed for: I wanted to see the Cathedral enveloped in the charm and mystery of the night. . . . Nothing could calm and astound my imagination like that Gothic city. . ." (92). Ah!"
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A wonderful book 18 Oct. 2008
By Joyce L. Tompsett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I wasn't sure I'd like this book at first as so many reviews I'd found called it despondent, sad, etc. I found the book to have sad parts, and yet I found it moving and I liked the heroine for not getting corrupted by all the things surrounding her. I wasn't saddened by the book nor did it depress me. In fact I actually liked the ending and thought it brought closure in a neat way but not an American way with artifice and quaintness.

I don't give many books 5 stars. Most that I really like get 4. Yet there was something about this book that merited this response. I am sad that more young people do not read this book. Then again, I find that Spanish history isn't covered very much in American schools. More English/French and then later Germany/Russia, but not Iberia. Perhaps that has something to do with it.

If I had read this when I was younger I suspect it would have been one of those books I kept rereading growing up. As it is, I will reread it again at some point.

I also agree with others that this book captures the feel of Barcelona. If you like this, try Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

I always wonder what else people read when they love/hate books because I wonder if I would agree with their review or not. Sometimes the things that lead people to give a book a good score would lower its score in my eyes or vice versa. So in that spirit, here's a bit about my reading habits to help you sort that out - I read a lot of European and Asian literature. I don't like most things that make the US Bestseller lists. I do love good mysteries for fun, and some speculative literature. I don't watch much tv.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Nada 6 Feb. 2001
By Benjamin Macuil - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I have read this book and i think its just one of the greatest stories of all times. It describes the life of a girl, Andrea, who moves to Barcelona to study in a post-war society. She lives in her grandmother's house with her aunt Angustias, her uncles Juan and Roman, Juan's wife, Gloria, their son, and the maid, Antonia. Carmen Laforet perfectly describes every situation, like the impression she got when she first walked into her new home, or her fragile relationship with Ena, the beautiful girl in college, who becomes her best friend, an who also is strangely attracted to Roman. This is the circle of situations in which the story develops. I highly recommend it.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A very good read. 11 Nov. 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent novel. From the very beginning Carmen Laforet manages to create a very interesting and convincing atmosphere, the characters are full and the plot does not stagnate. I have read it several times and always enjoyed it.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Important but Bleak 6 Aug. 2008
By G. Dawson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Nada is a coming-of-age novel about an 18-year-old orphan, Andrea, who moves from the Spanish countryside to Barcelona to live with her hyper-religious aunt, abusive uncles, and confused grandmother. Although Andrea has escaped her provincial background, the once-grand house of her relatives is now dirty and decaying. In the post-Civil-War Barcelona of the 1940s, food is scarce, and Andrea's relatives spend most of their time bickering and beating each other or chastising Andrea.

Nada is bleak, but Andrea's cool, somewhat detached first-person narrative makes the dark situation more bearable. Edith Grossman's translation vividly evokes the beauty and mystery of Barcelona, along with its decrepitude. More than the flesh-and-blood characters in this novel, Barcelona is a living, breathing force. This is an enjoyable read, particularly for those interested in Barcelona and its history.
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