Tuesday, 30 December 2014
Re-visiting "Stone In A Landslide" by Maria Barbal
a new view from Maryom
The second of a series of posts looking back at 5 years of Peirene translated fiction, today I'm re-reading Stone in a Landslide by Maria Barbal, translated Laura McGloughlin and Paul Mitchell. It tells the life-story of Catalan peasant woman Conxa and at first glance would appear to be one of those books in which nothing remarkable seems to happen - and yet it encompasses the whole of life. At the age of thirteen Conxa leaves home to live with her childless aunt and uncle, as a sort of unofficial adopted daughter. Life there is much the same as at home - an unremitting round of cooking, cleaning, tending the vegetable patch, and caring for the farm animals. Conxa grows up, marries, raises children - all with barely any time to stop and think about any of the questions we might pose about life; she just gets on with it. She's very much a woman of her time and place - prepared to accept her husband's view on wider issues such as politics and events beyond her village, believing that she knows little or nothing of such things, and that if she had an opinion of her own, it would probably be misguided.
Of the Peirene novels I've re-read, this one feels closest to how I remembered it. When I first read it, I was amazed at how much could be packed into such a short novel - and I still am. I felt I knew Conxa, her village and inhabitants, and the mountains that surrounded it. Maybe if there's a change it's that I'm more inclined to feel life passing me by as a blur these days too.
Maryom's review - 5 stars
Publisher - Peirene Press
Genre - Adult Literary Fiction