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Stone in a Landslide
 
 

Stone in a Landslide [Kindle Edition]

Maria Barbal , Paul Mitchell , Laura McGloughlin
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Review

"A piece of world literature: In just one hundred pages and in sparse language a whole life story unfolds." --Inforadio, Kultur

"This book possesses such force and overpowering beauty, I haven't read something like this for a long time."
--Elke Heidenreich in her TV show lesen

"This book possesses such force and overpowering beauty, I haven't read something like this for a long time." --Elke Heidenreich in her TV show "lesen"

"A piece of world literature: In just one hundred pages and in sparse language a whole life story unfolds."
--Inforadio, Kultur

Product Description

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.

"There is an understated power in Barbal’s depiction of how the forces of history can shape the life of the powerless." Financial Times

"So vibrant, that it makes me want to take scissors to everything else I read." The Guardian

The Catalan modern classic, first published in 1985, now in its 50th edition, with over 50 000 copies sold in the last two years in Germany alone, is published  for the first time in English.

THE INDEPENDENT BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2010
FOYLES BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2010


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 375 KB
  • Print Length: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Peirene Press (1 Nov 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0079IU2VI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #146,408 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Common Reader TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
It was a pleasure to read Stone in a Landslide, the ficitional life-story of a Catalonian woman living in a village deep in the Pyrenees. The author, Maria Barbal, is a highly regarded Catalan writer and the translators have done a good job in translating the harsh tones of this difficult language into sparse but elegant English.

The story is told in the first person by Conxa, now an old lady of 80 and looks back on her life, reflecting on the events that shaped her and reluctantly accepting what has been a difficult journey for her. The voice the author gives her is convincing and changes through the book reflecting the innocence of childhood, the griefs and suffering of the years of the Civil War and the resignation of an old woman far from happy with life in the modern world.

The world of the small farmer in the early 20th century was constrained by a constant battle with the land. Large families meant a gang of potential helpers but also mouths to feed and bodies to clothe. At the age of eleven, the demands of six growing children living on one small farm are sufficient for Conxa's parents to send here to live with her aunt and uncle. They do not live a great distance away, but far enough to make home visits almost an impossibility for the busy families struggling to make a living from their small farms.

As Conxa grows into her teens, she gains the attention of families who are looking for a wife for their sons. Romance usually has little to do with this, but unlike so many young women of her generation, Conxa is able to marry for love. Eventually, the Civil War reaches the village and I will not go on to describe the story for fear of spoiling it for others but let me say that it contains scenes of drama, loss and unexpected deliverance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 'a cloud of memories' 5 Oct 2010
Format:Paperback
The second of three launch titles for Peirene Press, whose Beside The Sea I loved, is described as a Catalan modern classic. Published originally in 1985 it is now in its 50th edition but this translation by Laura McGloughlin and Paul Mitchell is the first into English. In a little over a hundred pages Barbal presents us with an entire life, that of Concepció - known as Conxa - and also describes a way of life that will be unfamiliar unless you happened to be a peasant farmer in the Pyrenees during the beginning of the last century (you didn't, did you?). Conxa narrates the book and tells us the story of her life from one upheaval to another. The fifth of six children she is sent to live and work with her childless aunt Tia in Pallarès as 'Someone had to go.' There she will live as their daughter and become their heir (the novel makes very clear the importance of legacy, as land passes through families and becomes important during the arrangement of marriage).

Initially she finds it hard to fit in and be accepted, her shyness a result of her predicament a well as the thing that helps maintain it but slowly things begin to change for her and in her first winter she meets Jaume.

'I was convinced that Conxa would be fat and beefy and, since I was so thin, when people asked my name I always thought they would burst out laughing and I'd feel bad. But Jaume told me that saying my name was like eating a sweet, that it was the name of something small and delicious that he liked very much. It was as if he'd been born to take away my fears, to bring light where I saw darkness and to flatten what felt like a mountain to me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely story of life in rural Spain 8 Aug 2010
By Boof TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
This is the story of Conxa, a young girl from a rural Catalan village in the early twentieth century and it follows her throughout her life, from being sent away from her parents (as they can't afford to feed all six children) to live with an Aunt and Uncle miles away, through to the years it takes to finally be accepted as a member of the village, to falling in love and having three children, being captured in the civil war and to Barcelona where she finally ends her days - and this all happens in the space of 128 short pages.

The prose is sparse and understated but it is this simplicity that makes it work so beautifully. Conxa is a wonderful narrator and tells her story, looking back on her long life as an old lady, remembering the taste of food, the smell of the meadows and dancing until she is dizzy, never once complaining about her lot or, never throwing herself a pity-party, rather recalling the events of a life in rural Spain.

This is a short read but has the right amount of gentle impact to make it a satisfying lite-bite. Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lifetime in a novella 4 July 2010
By Suzie
Format:Paperback
I was intrigued that a woman's life story from childhood to old age could unfold in just 126 pages without seeming superficial and trivial. Conxa is a Catalan brought up in a farming community. She has never seen a city, or the sea. Her story is told in the simple language of a woman of her background and education, and this first translation into English beautifully captures the richness yet simplicity of her experience. She is ill at ease with the politics that will eventually engulf her husband and change her life for ever: `When we talked about such matters the same thing always happened to me. A thick fog came over my brain and from there it passed to my heart. It left me frozen and in the dark.'

Conxa tells her story in a series of time lapses between detailed vignettes that make her into someone you know rather than a woman you just happen to be reading about. She is born before the Spanish Civil War and lives through its outrages to end her days in unfamiliar surroundings far from home. She is the fifth of six children, a lot of mouths to feed and `not much land'. `We three youngest were told a hundred times that we were more of a burden than a blessing.' So Conxa is sent to live with her childless aunt Tia, and her uncle, `who owned land, at least half a dozen cows, poultry and rabbits, as well as a vegetable garden.' Her original family slowly recedes from her thoughts as she grows to love and respect her aunt, and meets and falls in love with the man she will marry.

It's beautiful, but it left me feeling somehow dissatisfied, wanting more. Although I knew it must be so, for me it was a mere taster rather than a meal. I would like to have known more about how Conxa felt and what happened between the snapshots she reveals. That is why I have given the book four stars instead of five, but it does not detract from my delight in reading it or in my readiness to recommend it to others.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Transport yourself to the Pyrenees
This is a timeless piece of writing, short, a two hour read. Set in the Catalan Pyrenees around the villages of Pallarès, Montsent, Torrent, Noguera, Ermita. Read more
Published 18 months ago by TripFiction
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Narrator
Stone in a Landslide is the second book in the Peirene Press series 'Female Voices' and is set in Spain before and during the Civil War. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Sam
5.0 out of 5 stars Gets better as you read on
An old woman from a poor farming family in the Pyrenees of Catalonia looks back on her life. She remembers how she had to leave her crowded home as a teenage girl to go and live... Read more
Published on 16 Oct 2011 by Phil O'Sofa
5.0 out of 5 stars Subtle, quiet, yet powerful
Translated from the Catalan by Laura McGloughlin and Paul Mitchell

"I feel like a stone after a landslide. Read more
Published on 22 Nov 2010 by Amy Henry
4.0 out of 5 stars evocative and resonant
This is a lovely book. The writing is skilful in its simplicity and I liked the way a long life story was handled so briefly, with inevitable gaps, as though you were hearing an... Read more
Published on 25 Oct 2010 by Amy J.
5.0 out of 5 stars Stone in a Landslide
History has a way of sweeping people up as it relentlessly marches along its way. Tolstoy, in a long essay found as the epilogue to War and Peace, goes to great lengths to explain... Read more
Published on 11 Sep 2010 by Damian Kelleher
5.0 out of 5 stars Stone in a Landslide
Living in Spain I see many old derelict buildings which seem to tell the same story. An excellent read - easy, inoffensive and interesting. Read more
Published on 6 Aug 2010 by Moli Lom
5.0 out of 5 stars Stone in a landslide
This is a concise and perfectly written book that manages to tell of a life during the Spanish civil war without detracting from the impact on the reader by its sparse use of... Read more
Published on 2 Aug 2010 by reader
5.0 out of 5 stars winstonsdad view
This is Peirene no 2 and considered a catalan classic ,Maria Barbal is a teacher at secondary school ,she grew up in the Pallars region of spain stones in a landslide was her debut... Read more
Published on 25 July 2010 by stuart allen
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book
This is a beautiful little book. It's simplicity is what made it shine for me. The story begins in Catalonia just after the turn of the twentieth century and it spans several... Read more
Published on 8 Jun 2010 by Freckles
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