In Diamond Square, first published in 1962, is the most acclaimed Catalan novel of the twentieth century. It has been translated into over twenty languages, but it is not well known in the English-speaking world. This month, we publish a new translation in paperback, and I urge you to discover it.
What makes In Diamond Square unique is that, although it is set during the Spanish Civil War, it is told from the perspective of a young, working-class woman. When Natalia’s husband goes to fight, she is left in Barcelona, struggling to feed her children. Natalia is such an original creation that, although at times heart-rending, In Diamond Square is a joy to read. She may be uneducated, but Natalia has her imagination, her intelligence, her humour and humanity. She is a force of life.
When we published in hardback last year, Colm Toibin called In Diamond Square ‘a small masterpiece’. Helen Oyeyemi said it was one of her favourite novels of the year and was won over by the heroine: ‘Go along with Natalia on her night out and you’ll soon find you’d follow her anywhere. Rodoreda’s writing pays such fierce and tender attention to the experience of being alive, and the tempest that ordinary life can be.’