País Íntim

(De Maria Barbal)

Plot:

País íntim speaks basically about the tortured relationship between the protagonist and her mother, deeply marked by events that occurred during the Spanish Civil War in a small village of the Pallars region. Several other topics also appear: the role of women in the family and society and evolution throughout the generations and in different circumstances (war, post-war period, transition and democracy, country or city, single versus married...), the contrast of a life in a small village, a big city and a medium city (Tremp), the recovery of historical memory, reparation actions, etc.

In short, but as the author says, «I wanted to write about the collateral effects of history on ordinary persons.»


The link to Àssua Valley:

Pedra de tartera has a very close relationship with País íntim. There are some narrative events that represent the continuation and/or end of the narrative in Pedra de tartera, especially the episode of the deaths on the stone bridge of Rialp.

If someone has read both books, it would be interesting if they researched common characters and events.

The author indicated that «In País íntim the story is explained by Conxa’s granddaughter. It is not a sequel; the story of Conxa is used only as a background. The granddaughter explains her experience with her mother, Elvira, the strong daughter that appears in Pedra de Tartera. In País íntim, Elvira at the same time talks about her experience with her mother. The story is based on this, which inevitably conditions their relationship. It’s not a continuation, but the past is in the present, preparing.»


Summary:

Rita, a woman from the Pallars region but settled in Barcelona, reviews her life by mentally directing herself to her mother, Teresa, who suffered the tragic events of the Civil War in her hometown of Pallars Sobirà while she was young. The protagonist makes an introspection in which she spells out her feelings, but especially the feelings towards her mother. She recalls a life that was constantly marked, in her childhood and teenage years, by her mother’s rebukes, not having overcome the injustice of some historical events and later, in her youth and early mature years, by her efforts to draw together. The last part of the book deals with closing all the open wounds from they experienced, wounds that had been brought about between Rita and her mother as well as those that were living among the inhabitants of the village from the far Civil War. As a backdrop for this bitter and difficult relationship between mother and daughter, there are three characters who act as a counterpoint: the father, whom she identifies with and feels a lot affection for, the godmother, «who has better character than the mother» and who knows how to listen, and Veva, the single cousin from Barcelona, who represents all that she does not find in her mother and who really becomes her mom when she goes to study in Barcelona and stays at her home.