Eighteen-year-old Andrea has come to Barcelona in 1943 to attend university and 'learn about life'. She moves uneasily between rich classmates, would-be artists, slum dwellers and the human wrecks who are her own family, aware always of her own hunger - not just for food. Would be a great reading group choice but also recommended for anyone who loves Spain or has ever been young and unsure of themself.
'It's as if you'd lived on your own in a Red zone and not in a convent of nuns during the war. Even Gloria has more excuses than you in her yearning for emancipation and disorder. She's a little street slut, while you've received an education ... and don't excuse yourself with your curiosity to see Barcelona. I've shown you Barcelona.'
Instinctively I looked at my watch.
'You listen to me like a person listening to the rain, I can see that ... you wretch! Life will batter you, crush you, flatten you! Then you'll think of me...'