Books by Carmen Martín Gaite

Released: Aug. 1, 2004

"Beautiful, extremely moving in its outline and sentiments, but a much different matter on the page: overlong, rambling, monotonous."
Ponderous account of a woman coming to terms with the death (and life) of her mother, as related by Spanish novelist Gaite (The Farewell Angel, 1999, etc.) in a deeply obsessive, introspective voice. Read full book review >
THE FAREWELL ANGEL by Carmen Martín Gaite
Released: June 16, 1999

This remarkably intricate 1994 novel by the veteran Spanish author (of, most recently, Variable Cloud, 1996) won her country's National Prize for Literature. It reveals, through a series of skillfully juxtaposed overlapping scenes (set both in the present and in a painstakingly remembered past), the ongoing ordeal of Leonardo Villalba, recently released from prison (for his complicity in an unspecified 'scandal—) and now compelled to explore both the mystery of his wealthy parents" deaths in an automobile accident and the enigma of his own detached, affectless personality. The key to these secrets is Hans Christian Andersen's tale "The Snow Queen," which bears crucial symbolic relevance to Leonardo's emotional opacity, the imperious grandmother who essentially raised him, and the strange new owner of Quinta Blanca, the clifftop house where the seeds of Leonardo's compromised manhood were sown. A Proustian journey into the interior, a dazzling psychodrama—and, arguably, one of the best novels out of Spain in recent decades. Read full book review >
VARIABLE CLOUD by Carmen Martín Gaite
Released: July 18, 1996

Variable Cloud ($24.00; Jul. 18, 1996; 374 pp.; 1-86046-061-5): A chronicle of female friendship, expressed largely through an exhaustive exchange of letters between two women who resume their long-dormant intimacy when each must grapple with the demons of middle age and unravelling relationships. Sofia, a wife and mother who leaves her mercenary, emotionless husband, and Mariana, a psychiatrist who can't help obsessing over her depressive lover, share their views on sex, politics, literature, and many other topics in a discursive, allusive correspondence and communion that is, alternately, absorbingly dramatic and painfully dull. This ambitious 1992 novel from one of Spain's leading writers (now translated into English for the first time) was a major success in Gaite's homeland, but may find a relatively lukewarm response in a culture where feisty criticisms of lamebrained machismo are not a novelty. Read full book review >