There is nothing like enjoying a good book that grabs you from the first moment and makes you experience different emotions. An example of this is the novel Primera Memoria, by Ana María Matute. 🤔
In fact, cultural accompaniment, whether through films or literary works, is important to make the study of Spanish more fun and efficient. 😄
At Spanish Express we know this very well. That is why the Spanish Film & Literature Workshops are specifically designed to learn Spanish through the greatest artistic exponents. 💡
Had you ever heard of Primera Memoria? Did you know that Ana María Matute was the third woman to win the prestigious Premio Cervantes? 📖
Today we’ll tell you that and much more about this magnificent book.
Let’s learn together!
Published in 1960, Primera memoria is the sixth novel written by the celebrated Spanish author Ana María Matute. From its appearance to the present day, it has not stopped garnering positive reviews, and it is not hard to see why.
Set during the Civil War, the novel tells the story of Matia, a young girl who finds herself isolated on the island of Mallorca. There she resides under the guardianship of her grandmother, an elderly and irritable woman who seems to hide details of her past.
The company of a young cousin named Borja will bring relief to Matia’s loneliness. It should be noted that both boys’ parents are at war, so the possibility of being reunited with them is uncertain.
Throughout, the story is narrated in the first person, through Matia’s childish eyes. The way she describes her grandmother’s face and the house they live in tells us of her curiosity and her eagerness to discover the world around her.
Matia and Borja’s adventures mark the transition from childhood to adolescence. For this reason, First Memory can be read as a formative novel and a literary sub-genre of great tradition in Europe.
Apart from Borja, there are not many male characters in the work. For this reason, the book is also an exploration of the female universe from the perspective of a young girl growing up.
Primera memoria is an intimate, beautiful and candid novel, where curiosity is another way of rebelling against the world and its injustices. Childhood as a vital heritage and the appreciation of friendship as a true treasure are the great lessons we are left with after reading it.
Ana María Matute
Ana María Matute was born in Barcelona on 26 July 1925, into a family belonging to the local petit bourgeoisie, of a religious and conservative bent.
Although she lived for some years in Madrid, the most important experiences of her life took place in her native city.
The Civil War broke out when Matute was only eight years old. Witnessing the violence, misery and hatred during this traumatic episode of recent Spanish history would mark much of her narrative work.
An example of this is his first novel, Los Abel, published in 1947, inspired by the Bible but with clear references to the war.
This book was followed by Fiesta al Noroeste (1952) and Pequeño teatro (1954), which won him the Premio Planeta.
With Los hijos muertos (1958) he won the Premio de la Crítica and the Premio Nacional de Narrativa, and with Primera memoria (1960) the prestigious Premio Nadal.
Primera memoria is part of a trilogy called Los mercaderes, which also includes Los soldados lloran de noche (1964) and La trampa (1969).
His prose is characterised by lyricism and the evocation of certain childhood episodes. Loneliness, violence and isolation are recurring themes in his books.
During Franco’s dictatorship, many of his books were affected by censorship, so that only after the establishment of democracy did they begin to circulate in their unabridged version.
Although she received numerous prizes throughout her career, she won the Premio Cervantes in 2010, only the third woman to do so (after María Zambrano and Dulce María Loynaz).
In 2013 the Ana María Matute Municipal Public Library was inaugurated in Madrid as a tribute to her literary career.
Ana María Matute died at her home in Barcelona in September 2014, aged 89.
Challenge your knowledge with a little quiz!
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Alejandro Coita Sánchez
Spanish Express Blogger