Nada (novel)

29 Api

Nada is a novel, written in 1944 by Carmen Laforet, and won the Nadal Price on the 6th of January in 1945; later, in 1948, the novel obtained the Fastenrath Price from the Real Academia Española. The work not only attracted the attention because of the youth of the writer, who by the time was 23, but also for the description that Laforet did about the society of the epoch. Facing the people who said that the novel was autobiographic, the author herself wrote, in the introduction to the compilation titled Novelas (first edition from 1957, Barcelona, Planeta editorial) the next thing: “It is not, like none of my novels, autobiographic, although the story of a student girl, as I was in Barcelona, and even the circumstance that she lived in the same street of this city where I also lived back in the days, are some reasons why this question has been asked more than once.”

Nada is an existentialist novel, where Carmen Laforet reflects the blockage and the poverty in which the Spain of the postwar period was found.  The writer knew how to transmit with this work, written with a literary style that supposed a renovation in the prose of the epoch, the slow disappearance of the small bourgeoisie after the Civil War.

This novel was included in the list of the 100 best novels in Spanish from the XX century of the Spanish newspaper “El Mundo”.


The character of the novel is a young woman called Andrea, who recently finished the Spanish Civil War she moved to the city of Barcelona to study and star a new life. When Andrea arrives at his grandmother’s house, where only has memories of his childhood, his illusions are broken. On this floor of the street of Aribau, where apart from his grandmother, lives his aunt anguish, his uncle Roman, his uncle, Juan, the women of the last one, Glory, and the maid, the voltage continues in an environment characterized by hunger, the dirt, the violence and hatred. Andrea, who lives oppressed by his aunt Angustias, feels that her life is going to change when his aunt was running, but things do not just go as she would like.However, at the University knows to ena, a girl that will b ane intimate friend and will play an important role in his life, since next to her she will learn what the outside world can offer.

The novel comes to create an atmosphere so stifling that get transfer paper and reach the reader. When in the oppressive atmosphere of the house dark, closed, dirty and smelly, in this sort of microcosm, to any of the characters asks her what’s wrong, they thought, that feel, often gets the same answer: “nothing”.

Carmen Laforet ahead of his time with a prose and intimate photo, which describes perfectly the Barcelona of the time. The author uses for this own resources of impressionism. As a sample of these resources impressionists, in “Nothing” predominates the description.The protagonist is fixed in everything that surrounds it on  arrival to Barcelona; transmits a  totally subjective vision, due to she does not describe the objects as they are, but makes it how she perceives, transferring their sensations and emotions. Says Rosa Navarro, a professor of literature, that is representative, the large number of times that the author uses the word “seem”. Also, phrases such as “having the impression”, “feeling” or similar appear abundantly in the novel.In addition, one of the most repeated rhetorical forms in the work is the comparison.

Location in the narrative

The story takes place in Barcelona,where Andrea of 18 years,enthusiastic,innocent and with great desire to improve, decides to pass her next year at University.But what for her is suppose to be a change of exciting life, it turns into a complete dissappointment. From that moment she will suffer distressing situations that will lead in her maturity.Andrea had to confront the conservative and bourgeoisie society of the early postwar years,under the Franco regime and full of famine,in which women had no right to decide what they wanted or even to become successful, They were  recognised as pure objects intended only to motherhood. Wearing mourning after the death of someone your love was a rule between women.Committing suicide was considered a despicable act,because it was inappropriate for a Christian to attempt on his life. Andrea lived in everyday in two places complete different: one was the family home of Aribau Street,in which violence and hunger appear;On the other hand,the University, full of entertainment,fraternity and enjoyment, were necessary to avoid and reduce her anxiety.

Narrator´s position in relation to the story being told

The novel is told in first person by the same protagonist,in the future, while she remember the experiences lived in the past.Is not the Andrea that left the city,but by a mature Andrea that recently has realized that there was something of the Aribau Street that change her.It is expressed in her comment “at least,I thought that…”the narrator seems to clear a different opinion comparing which she had when she was younger.The point of view of Carmen Laforet is obviously the same as Andrea´s. A perspective full of sadness from which she express all the misery suffered  by the spanish society of the 40s.With this novel, Carmen Laforet has been associated with the literary movement, which emerged in the post-war period, called Existentialism.


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