Cervantes winner Ana Maria Matute dies at 88

Written on June 25, 2014 by Administrador de IE Blogs in Literature

matutePrize-winning novelist Ana Maria Matute, who spent a literary lifetime exploring the crushed innocence of her childhood during the Spanish Civil War, died on Wednesday of a heart attack, her son told Reuters.

She was 88 years old and lived in Barcelona.

Her novels spanning the 1940s to the 1960s depicted the devastation of rural, war-tornSpain from a child’s perspective.

In her 1959 novel “School of the Sun”, a girl named Maria comes of age while the war divides her family and her town on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca, with a doll named Gorogo her sole confidant.

Maria’s gradual abandonment of the doll and of fairy tales, and her friendship with a boy who is ostracised in the village, mark her transition to adulthood.

Decades later, when Matute won Spain’s highest literary award, the Cervantes – she was the third woman to receive the honour – she spoke of her own Gorogo, a doll her father brought her from London when she was five, who became her only friend.

“I take it on all my trips and I still tell it what I can’t tell anybody,” she said in her acceptance speech in 2010.

Matute and other writers scarred by the 1936-1939 war – Juan Goytisolo, Ignacio Aldecoa, Carmen Martin Gaite and Carmen Laforet – were dubbed the generation of the frightened children.

“You know how horrible it is to be 11, and go from being a little middle-class girl … to finding yourself in a world divided, even brothers were divided … Going through a war with atrocities, discovering the ugliest things in life,” she said.

Born in Barcelona, northeast Spain, on July 26, 1925, Matute was one of five children. Her father owned an umbrella factory.

She almost died of a kidney infection when she was five years old. Aged 8, she was sent to live with her grandparents in a small town, Mansilla de la Sierra. Later, she attended a religious school in Madrid.

Continue reading in Reuters


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