“Ramona, Farewell”, the novel that discovered Montserrat Roig, one of the greats

  • Publisher Consone publishes a new Spanish translation of the Barcelona author’s first feature story, giving voice to the women of three generations and applying the scalpel to her wealthy middle class.

  • Roig was a leading feminist and author very committed to the left in the years surrounding the transition.

A woman who will run her life between her First Communion and her going out and marrying a man who will make her feel old when he whispers in her ear how much he loves her, who will write in his diary what he feels and what he does not feel, who will go to the Liceo and that he will travel to Paris, and that he will think of life from his balcony as Emma Bovary who is bored and accommodating. Another, who looks at me and does not touch me, a veiled and frightened woman revives when she talks about the war and remembers how she searched among the rubble of the bombing for that husband who would marry her because she is. Clean and tidy like her mother and that he would tell her to keep quiet in the house, that she is a fool and a jerk and that she is lucky to have him in her life. and the third, which will explore political strife in university councils, love and sexual liberation in bed (and out of it) for one man whose charisma and drive adores her, and who will imagine a different life for her, for the sake of the women in her family and the woman to come.

They are three women with the same name, Ramona. Three women of different generations—a grandfather, a mother, and a daughter—who call themselves, Mondetta. Three women, three lives that will share the heart of the same city, Barcelona, ​​for all those years that span from the end of the nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century.Through a story that begins with the memory of the bomb in Liceu in 1893 and that goes through the Second Republic, the Civil War and the beginning of the restoration of lost freedoms and rights, with the dictator still alive. Three women and three spirits inhabit the pages Ramona, byefirst novel Montserrat Roig, published in 1972, just republished in Spanish by the Bilbao Consonni Publishing House, with translation by Gemma Deza Gil. They are Mondetta Joffre, Mondetta Ventura, and Mondetta Claret, three women who are “more than a mother, a daughter, and a grandmother, something more than a name-alter or semi-mutant” because in those three lives of these three women, he writes Michael Moon In the foreground, there is “a reflection of all life, all violence, all revolutions, all passions or all the aspirations of womanhood itself.

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Goodbye, Ramona and welcome back, Montserrat Roig, that journalist, novelist, television presenter, occasional playwright, and Pioneering feminism and the claim of historical memorythat “the daughter of the Eixample of Barcelona who is so well reflected in her novels, heir to the political ideals of those defeated by the civil war, and a hardened critic of the left and feminism,” as she said of her Anna Maria Moixwho “formulated his narrative work in Standalians walk along the road of life rdquor ;. Before her death in 1991, a cancer victim at the age of 45And Roig also signed the first novels Cherry time (Saint Jordi Award, 1977), Violet clock (1980), Daily Opera (1982) and melodious voice (1987), short stories He steals a molta and little does he know (1971) and Youth song (1989), in addition to extensive journalistic work with related works Catalans in Nazi camps (1977), in which he gave voice to Republican survivors deported to concentration camps. But despite In recent years, Roig’s work has seen a slight and new recognitionThe truth is, many of her titles are currently out of print.

Everything can change

Maria Moore DeanDirector of Consonni, explains to this newspaper that the publication Ramona, bye Part of an editorial commitment to “literary archaeology,” which consists of recovering titles, many from the 1970s, by authors like Marge Percy or James Allan McPherson, “who were shrinking or out of print because of this maniacal news market and overpublication ” Back to the Monsterrat Roig Libraries – will also be published Cherry time, violet hour, melodious voice– He also responds to a double profession, which is “The value of minority languages and translated from Basque, Catalan and Galician & rdquor; And that’s the answer to those Feminists who express our ways of doing things and the content we post& rdquo;.

In her view, Roig’s voice and feminist perspective on bonds, power, and order continue the dialogue with us: “V Ramona, bye Montserrat Roig speaks to us of the weight of religion on women at a very specific moment, but she also talks about sex and the place we put ourselves in relation to combativeness and romantic love: what relationships these women have with the men of his time, with society and What does empowering women mean at every historical moment?. But most of all she is It also reminds us that everything can change.. Roig talks about us, about the history experienced by our mothers, about the attempt to be independent and about the possibility of history giving women to be independent. And this is repugnant because it tells at the same time that cities and all the lies that underlie the construction of history are also progressing.”

Roig with his cat Pepita in 1977. / Blair Emmerich

It took ten years

Where would Montserrat Roig be today if she had not passed away at just 45 years old? “I think she is really wonderful, she met death at a very young age, and to this is added that she was very uncomfortable, that she did not take sides with anything, she positioned herself as an anti-fascist, but in a free way and that always paid off & rdquor ;. This opinion is also shared by the writer Mordin Bathsheba Garciathe author of his autobiography with other eyes (Roca) and editor something better (Discussion), selections from texts written by Roig in Spanish Tele / eXpressAnd victoryAnd Newspaper And Country between 1966 and 1983. Roig “died in November 1991, he had gone to the United States to teach and He returned when he found out he had cancer, but at that time doctoral dissertations were already being completed on his work and included in anthologies of Spanish literature.. What happens is he lacked ten years, he lacked time, but he was there.”

Roig was the quintessential Catalan voice for feminism, for the progressiveness of the 1970s and one of the fundamental voices for understanding late Francoism.

Bitsabé García, biographer of Montserrat Roig

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García, who also believes that Montserrat Roig was and remains “the quintessential Catalan voice of feminism, for what was progressive in the 1970s and one of the fundamental voices for the understanding of late Francoism” wonders why someone “is so popular in Catalonia in the 1980s or 1990s He never had a program on TV3, however, he did have a program on TVE. She was very critical of nationalism, she was trained in communism, at PSUC, and she had a very clear idea of ​​class struggle.”

A fight that will be present in his work, inhabited by characters from “poor middle class in Barcelona, Their environment, that middle class that still has the atmosphere of the wealthy but is no longer so, was destroyed by the war or the Franco regime & rdquor ;. Roig would self-critique his classwill show its flaws and will do so from the point of view and the voice of women, the voice of those three people who continue to speak to us now and who remind us, as the author has claimed so many times, that “if there is an act of love, this is a memory.”

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