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.