Private Correspondence

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1st Edition

Paperback, 240 x 160 mm. 144pp Illustrated....
In stock in Australia, for immediate despatch

Esther Tusquets was already well known in Spain as director of the Barcelona publishing house Editorial Lumen, when she stunned the reading public in the late 1970s and 1980s with the publication of a highly acclaimed narrative cycle (translated into English as The Same Sea as Every Summer, Love is a Solitary Game, Stranded, and Never to Return) whose daringly innovative content and prose style broke new ground for the Spanish novel and for women's writing.

Now with her spellbinding memoir Private Correspondence (Correspondencia privada, 2001), the author finally sheds her masks and disguises to share with us the 'true' story that underlies the entire body of her narrative work. The book consists of four imaginary letters to the most important people in her life, by now dead or dying, in which she reviews and meditates on her relationship with each and the role he or she has played in her story. The first letter, addressed to her mother, recalls her ambivalent childhood bond with this glamorous but coldly overpowering woman, a primal tie that marked her forever.

The other letters are directed to men with whom she had romantic attachments at various stages of her life and development, ranging from her adolescent infatuation for her gallant high school literature teacher, to her zeal at university for an iconoclastic young playwright who represented a way out of her parents' exclusive bourgeois milieu, and finally to her 1960s passion for the ardent social activist Esteban, father of her children and the culminating love of her life. Written in the Tusquetian musical style of long winding sentences that follow the logic of feeling states, the letters are like intimate conversations in which she seeks to fathom the meaning of life and human relationships.

As a child of the Spanish Civil War and the ensuing oppressive Franco regime, Tusquets also recounts the story of an era, of the post-war generation. Her personal drama plays out against a backdrop of political upheaval and repression, of shattered lives, of unrealised public and private hopes and dreams. Drawing on a wealth of vivid memories, her tale brings to life the 40-year course of Francoist Spain, as viewed through the lens of a woman's inner world.

In all of the novels of Tusquets' tetralogy, a middle-aged woman goes on an imaginary pilgrimage back in time in search of understanding and inner peace. Where her earlier works still embraced an unknown future with determination and hope, this book is fully oriented to the past and the bittersweet joys of remembrance. The moving epilogue offers the 'twilight' reflections of an individual for whom the past, through memory and desire, always overshadows the present.

Although the author sees the loss of love as the 'end' of her life story and the inevitable harbinger of death, it is her relentless nostalgia and longing that give birth to another dimension of experience, to the quest to recover her lost paradises in a form that will withstand the passage of time by transforming her life into literature. Thus in revealing to us the secrets of her 'private correspondence', her late autobiographical work opens the door to her fictional universe, in this way closing the circle of life and art.

Barbara F. Ichiishi is an independent scholar.


SKU 9780838756867
Barcode # 9780838756867
Brand Godine
Artist / Author Esther TUSQUETS

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