DEATH IN SPRING
Category: Catalan narrative
The grand achievement of her later period, Death in Spring is one of Mercè Rodoreda's most complex and beautifully constructed works. The novel tells the story of the bizarre and destructive customs of a nameless town through the eyes of a fourteen-year-old boy. The boy struggles to come to terms with the rhyme and reason of the town's ritual violence, and with his wild, teenaged stepmother, who becomes his playmate. By developing the relationships between the boy and the townspeople, and examining the town's rituals, Rodoreda portrays a fully-articulated, though quite disturbing, society. These customs, however, stand in stark contrast to the novel's stunningly poetic language and lush descriptions -Death in spring is musical and rhythmic, and it is truly the work of a writer at the height of her powers. A book for the ages, Death in spring can be read as a metaphor for Franco's Spain (or any oppressed society), or as a mythological quest novel. Similar to the work of Shirley Jackson (especially The Lottery), and featuring the imaginative qualities of Raymons Roussel's Impressions of Africa, Rodoreda's final novel makes a bold, ambitious statement, and a fitting capstone to her remarkable career.