War, So Much War

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UPC: 9781940953229
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Author: Mercè Rodoreda
Translator: Martha Tennent
Translator: Maruxa Relano
  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Open Letter (November 10, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1940953227
  • ISBN-13: 978-1940953229
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches

Despite its title, there is little of war and much of the fantastic in this coming-of-age story, which was the last novel Mercè Rodoreda published during her lifetime.

We first meet its young protagonist, Adrià Guinart, as he is leaving Barcelona out of boredom and a thirst for freedom, embarking on a long journey through the backwaters of a rural land that one can only suppose is Catalonia, accompanied by the interminable, distant rumblings of an indefinable war. In vignette-like chapters and with a narrative style imbued with the fantastic, Guinart meets with numerous adventures and peculiar characters who offer him a composite, if surrealistic, view of an impoverished, war-ravaged society and shape his perception of his place in the world.

As in Rodoreda's Death in Spring, nature and death play an fundamental role in a narrative that often takes on a phantasmagoric quality and seems to be a meditation on the consequences of moral degradation and the inescapable presence of evil.


"Mercè Rodoreda has been a favorite of mine ever since college. . . . War, So Much War helps to expand our understanding of a world-class writer's fiction, with, hopefully more to come."—Jeff VanderMeer, author of The Southern Reach Trilogy

"Episodic in style, [Rodoreda's] language is breathtaking and transportive, ultimately showing the reader the universal beauty and injustice of fate. . . . An incredibly original work and not to be missed."—Mark Haber, Brazos Bookstore

"Rodoreda's clear, clean prose, rendered so capably into English by Relaño and Tennent, creates a mood of desperation that will engage the contemplative reader . . ."—Library Journal

"Mercè Rodoreda's War, So Much War is a gripping story, passing as the account of the wanderings of a highly sensitive young man. . . . Rodoreda is not afraid to probe man's humanity in the face of ubiquitous warfare that ought to destroy mankind or—at the least—send it back to the Dark Ages."—CounterPunch

About the Authors

Mercè Rodoreda is widely regarded as the most important Catalan writer of the twentieth century. Exiled to France during the Spanish Civil War, and only able to return to Catalonia in the mid-1960s, she wrote a number of highly praised works, including The Time of the Doves and Death in Spring.

Maruxa Relaño is a journalist and translator based in Barcelona. She has worked as a translator for The Wall Street Journal, a writer for NY1, and wrote articles for the New York Daily News, Newsday, and New York magazine, among other publications.

Martha Tennent was born in the U.S, but has lived most of her life in Barcelona where she served as founding dean of the School of Translation and Interpreting at the University of Vic. She translates from Spanish and Catalan, and received an NEA Translation Fellowship for her work on Rodoreda.