Camellia Street


From the Introduction by Sandra Cisneros:

Camellia Street, published in 1966, is the starkest of all Rodoreda’s works. It chronicles the life and, obliquely, the times of Cecília C., a street-corner prostitute and later a kept woman in numb, exhausted postwar Barcelona. Cecília, a foundling whose name is written on a scrap of paper pinned to her bib, never takes to her adoptive parents. She flees their stifling attentions and obsessive chatter about her origins as soon as she can—first in search of her father, who has appeared to her in a vision, and then more definitively with her first lover, Eusebi. From this point on her life is, in her own words, “spent searching for lost things and burying dead loves.” Incapable of either emotional attachment or shared sensual pleasure, Cecília lives frozen in her own narcissism and anomie. [. . .] Though not as much of a victim as Jean Rhys’s heroines, Cecília resembles them in her helpless, bitter drift through a world of lovers who either quickly bore her or whom she never liked in the first place.