The Back Room
The Back Room
Translated by Helen R. Lane

  • Winner of Spain's National Prize for Literature

In the middle of the night, a woman awakens to find a stranger in her bedroom. Though she cannot determine who he is—or, indeed, whether he is even real at all and not just an extension of her dreams or her writing—she is drawn into a conversation with her unexpected guest. What she tells him becomes the story of a woman coming of age in the repressive Spain of the Franco era.

In The Back Room, Carmen Martín Gaite spins out a hypnotic evocation of one woman's life counterpointed against the social history of modern Spain. The growth of a personal identity and the terrors of fascism are woven together within the delicate fabric of this dreamlike narrative. The result is an intimate and existential confessional—part autobiography, part fiction. In direct and simple language, Martín Gaite envisions life within a world besieged. This, her finest work, explores the back room of memory with a quiet but irresistible power.

Praise for The Back Room:

"The winner of Spain's 1978 National Prize for Literature, Gaite's postmodern novel interweaves dreams and fantasies with autobiography and Spanish history, resulting in a book that is complex and elusive, but more than worth the effort." —Publishers Weekly

"Some of the cultural specifics in this 1978 novel from Spain—songs, doll furniture, movies—may be meaningful only for Spanish readers. But Martin Gaite's novel, the first in Columbia's new Twentieth Century Continental Fiction Program, is artful and engaging nonetheless, a book of intelligent moods modulating into one another." —Kirkus Reviews

". . . intensely serious, literary and wryly humorous, [her] mesmerizing, labyrinthine sentences induce a sense of wandering the corridors and topiaried gardens of Marienbad." —Sunday Times

Title The Back Room
Translated by Helen R. Lane
Prize Winner of Spain's National Prize for Literature
Publisher City Lights Publishers
BISAC Subject Heading FIC000000 FICTION
Title First Published 01 April 2000
Format Paperback
Nb of pages 224 p.
ISBN-10 0872863719
ISBN-13 9780872863712
Publication Date 01 April 2000
Main content page count 224
Dimensions 5.5 x 7.3 in.
Weight 16 oz.
List Price $16.95

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