Garden by the Sea by Mercè Rodoreda
From Open Letter Books:
The novel that defined Mercè Rodoreda’s most prolific period is finally available in English for the first time. Set in 1920s Spain, Garden by the Sea takes place over six summers at a villa by the sea inhabited by a young couple and their beautiful, rich, joyous friends. They swim, drink, tease each other, and fully enjoy themselves. All the while, the guests are observed by the villa’s gardener, a widow who’s been tending the garden for several decades. As the true protagonist of the novel, we get to see the dissolution of these magical summers through his eyes, as a sense of darkness and ending creeps in, precipitated by the construction of a new, larger, more glamorous villa next door.
Considered by many to be one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century, Rodoreda has captivated readers for decades with her exacting descriptions of life—and nature—in post-war Spain, and this novel will further her reputation and fill in an important piece of oeuvre.
Translated from the Catalan by Maruxa Relaño and Martha Tennent