By Mercè Rodoreda

Title note: unique name Quanta, quanta guerra...

Despite its name, there's little of conflict and lots more and plenty of the glorious during this coming-of-age tale, which was once the final novel Mercè Rodoreda released in the course of her lifetime.

We first meet its younger protagonist, Adrià Guinart, as he's leaving Barcelona out of boredom and a thirst for freedom, embarking on a protracted trip in the course of the backwaters of a rural land that you'll be able to purely believe is Catalonia, observed via the interminable, far-off rumblings of an indefinable warfare. In vignette-like chapters and with a story kind imbued with the glorious, Guinart meets with quite a few adventures and bizarre characters who provide him a composite, if surrealistic, view of an impoverished, war-ravaged society and form his notion of his position within the world.

As in Rodoreda's Death in Spring, nature and demise play an primary position in a story that regularly takes on a phantasmagoric caliber and seems a meditation at the outcomes of ethical degradation and the inescapable presence of evil.

"Rodoreda had bedazzled me via the sensuality with which she unearths issues in the surroundings of her novels."— Gabriel García Marquez

"Rodoreda plumbs a disappointment that reaches past old situations . . . a nearly voluptuous vulnerability."— Natasha Wimmer, The Nation

"It is a complete secret to me why [Rodoreda] isn't commonly worshipped; in addition to Willa Cather, she's on my checklist of authors whose works I intend to have learn all of earlier than I die. super, super writer."— John Darnielle, The Mountain Goats

Mercè Rodoreda (1908–1983) is generally considered as crucial Catalan author of the 20th century. Exiled in France and Switzerland following the Spanish Civil struggle, Rodoreda begun writing the novels and brief stories—Twenty-Two brief Stories, The Time of the Doves, Camellia Street, Garden by means of the Sea—that could finally make her the world over famous.

Literary Awards
Premi Ciutat de Barcelona (1980)
Premi Crítica Serra d'Or for novel·la (1980)

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He had a roguish gleam in his eyes. Thanks to my religious medallions. Many grocers and many soldiers who are the sons of grocers are still believers. They purvey the coffee and I give them religious medallions in exchange. Mine are the most beautiful. An old woman who lives in the middle of the forest, near the river, makes them; she’s a real beast, worse than ringworm. Look at these—they represent Our Lady of the Angels. You see? Take a good look at them. The Virgin’s dress is lovely, every bit of it is stunning, but I don’t know how she manages to have the Virgin’s faces look as evil as her own.

He said that after he was called up he had trouble sleeping without that smell he had known since the day he was born. His mother would wake him at four o’clock every morning to deliver the milk; he was 34 WAR, SO MUCH WAR only eight years old then. With half-lidded eyes and a sleepy heart, he would traipse from one street to the next loaded with pans and measuring cups, sometimes climbing three flights of stairs in the dark to sell a lousy quarter of a liter of milk that only cost five cents. But at seven o’clock sharp he would put everything down: pans, measures, and all the other stuff, and he was off to Mass.

The miller woman would come to check on me and talk nonsense. She didn’t feed me. During the day she left a bottle of water by my side; at night there was nothing. He’s a spy, I could hear them saying. A giant of a man scooped me up, took me to a large, empty room, and dropped me on the floor like a sack of potatoes. At night I could hear the truck, and there were arguments, the smell of smoke and oil, the sound of glasses clinking. During the day the miller woman would sprinkle flour over me; she found it amusing.

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