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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction



Estación. Ida y vuelta.

by
Rosa Chacel


general information | our review | links | about the author



Title: Estación. Ida y vuelta.
Author: Rosa Chacel
Genre: Novel
Written: 1930
Length: 124 pages
Original in: Spanish
Availability: In der Oase - Deutschland
  • Estación. Ida y vuelta. has not been translated into English yet.

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Our Assessment:

B+ : unusual reflective novel, written in an impressively assured tone

See our review for fuller assessment.




The complete review's Review:

       The title of this novel, Estación. Ida y vuelta, can be translated as: "Station. Round Trip". At its centre is a house, an oasis and refuge but also a trap. It is where the narrator grew up, and where the defining moment of the novel took place. It is also a place of ends and beginnings.
       Estación. Ida y vuelta begins with the house a comfortable refuge. Part of its charm is its secrets. Unassuming, even forbidding to the outside world, in reality it is far sunnier than one might expect, and while it looks small it contains a great deal. It is also a place whose inside can not readily be penetrated from the outside, a small world unto itself. This childish vision of home, of a closely circumscribed universe marked by a single, intimately familiar structure, is something the narrator clings onto, even into his youth and early adulthood.
       It is here he one day saw a neighbour-girl wearing a veil, wrapped in her own sadness, an encounter that burns itself into his memory. She is a tragic figure, her picture soon in the paper under the headline: 'Young Girl Poisoned.'
       The narrator can not free himself entirely from his infatuation; it is an experience that colours many of his others. The novel is only very loosely a Bildungroman: the narrator matures, travels to France, has a child, but all this is barely more real, more substantial than his mind's fancies: life continues dream-like. It is a process of coming to terms with the past, of assembling a narrative that allows him to make it bearable, and to continue.
       The narrator is strikingly self-aware in some respects -- knowing, for example, that academia holds little appeal for him, that an office job is what he should aspire to. He suggests his own drama could be filmed in the style of a Harold Lloyd movie. he doesn't take himself too seriously -- and occasionally not seriously enough.
       The success of the novel lies in the remarkably assured tone. While the story is almost programmatic in some of the presentation, Chacel nevertheless creates an entirely convincing narrator whose uncertainty and whose actions always ring true. Even the most simplistic metaphors (including the house itself) are understood as necessary artifice, the narrator fumbling to explain himself and managing no better than that -- making these seem not blatant literary tricks but honest attempts at conveying what he felt and how he interprets it.
       Strongly influenced by Ortega y Gasset (who argued for taking the novel in new directions), it was surely a very modern book for 1930. More remarkably, it has stood the test of time well: what experimentation there is in it (including the distanced tone and the philosophical and psychological speculation by the narrator) does not -- unlike much fiction of the 1920s and 30s -- feel at all dated.
       An interesting and worthwhile literary work.

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Links:

Estación. Ida y vuelta.: Rosa Chacel: Other books by Rosa Chacel under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Spanish author Rosa Chacel lived 1898 to 1994.

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