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Montserrat Roig: three lives, and in them all the lives


The writer, who died in 1991 at the age of 45, published her first novel, 'Ramona, goodbye', at the age of 26. The Consonni publishing house republishes it today, half a century later, and 'Babelia' anticipates the prologue that she has written for the occasion Luna Miguel

Fulfilled and celebrated the centenary of the publication of


by James Joyce, we could say that the plot of "a man's life in a single day, and on that day his whole life" has already been more than amortized.

But the truth is that this literary passion for condensing all the feelings into one, all the plots into one and all the lives into one, grows, expands, innovates and never ends.

Without going any further, the copy of the book that you now hold in your hands represents precisely a reformulation of said ancestral challenge.

Three lives, of three women, and in them the reflection of all lives, or of all violence, or of all loves, or of all revolutions, or of all passions, or of all the aspirations of femininity itself. .

Three women who, in their intimacy, and in their audacity, are something more than three women.

Something more than a mother, a daughter and a grandmother.

Something more than the same changing name, or almost mutant: that of Mundeta.

Something more than a family tree drawn up to show the public and intimate history of the also changing city of Barcelona.

Three lives, yes, "and in them all the lives", could be the motto to reread and vindicate

Ramona, goodbye


the first novel by the narrator, feminist activist and journalist Montserrat Roig, which fifty-one years after its original publication in Catalan, sees the light again in Spanish with a very faithful translation by Gemma Deza Guil.

Ramona, bye

Thus, in 1972, he inaugurated a list of five works of fiction with which, over no more than a decade —because the author died prematurely— Roig devoted himself to drawing the lives of women, and the political struggles of the moment, in a country in full transition, crossed by the reflection around gender inequality and the class question.

In this particular work, which spans a handful of years from the end of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th, we find ourselves with a series of problems that haunt the lives of Mundeta Jover, Mundeta Ventura and Mundeta Claret, ranging from the different types of sexual violence that grandmother, mother and daughter had to face up to the workers' revolts during the Second Republic, the aftermath of the Civil War, cultural regeneration,

Anyone would say that Mundeta Jover really existed, and that Roig only finished shaping the plot of his successors

Montserrat Roig not only took risks in terms of the thematic exploration of a few turbulent and painful years on a political level, because perhaps her biggest bet with

Ramona, goodbye

It had to do with the formal.

The marvelous use of the interior monologue, of diaristic writing, in the case of Mundeta Jover, allows us to delve into the brain of what was probably the most distant character, the most foreign to us.

Roig creates a voice that is as hard as it is sweet, a kind of vindication of the feminine self: the experience at the center, as if giving a voice to women who did not have it.

Anyone would say that Jover really existed, and that Roig only finished shaping the plot of her successors.

There is in the rest of the first-person narratives a sense of ignorance.

As if despite their relationship Jover, Ventura and Claret had never looked into each other's eyes.

And it is in that estrangement of family ties, in that sporadic hatred that one comes to feel for the existence of the other,

Ramona, goodbye

feeds us with the past, precariousness and irresolvable family conflicts, portrayed from an extreme intimacy, in the same way that occurs in books such as

The Empty Cabinets

, by Annie Ernaux.

Both the Catalan and the recent French Nobel have the virtue of being two chroniclers of their time.

They are not afraid when it comes to portraying the sexual or the scatological and, as the strength of their narrative demonstrates, they are never intimidated by the possible mocking interpretation of the macho.

They know it very well: you cannot make a portrait of a society without putting the reflection on affective ties at the center.

Hence in

Ramona, goodbye

, one of the most distressing moments and in turn more precise is that of Mundeta Ventura looking for the body of a loved one among the remains of a bombing.

Violence does not destroy only buildings.

Or monuments.

Or ideals.

Violence destroys the possibility of loving.

It will be for this reason that in some reviews of

Ramona, goodbye

that can be found in the newspaper libraries is so specified that the first novel by Montserrat Roig is the portrait of three loves.

I would like to think not, that despite the attention paid to affectivity in the narration, before the love for another, there is love between them.

That before the love between them, there is love for oneself.

And that before the submission of their causes to romanticism, there is the surrender of their thoughts to humor and the search for something new, something that allows them to continue living even when everything around them, in that convulsed Barcelona decade after decade, seems lost. .

In the words of one of our protagonists: "It's as if they wanted to convince each other that each kiss, each caress, each act of love represents the most concrete sign of the final goodbye."

Or have you not seen those photos of Roig in the demonstrations against the decriminalization of adultery?

'Jo també soc adulteress!', read his banner

So what does he say a final goodbye to Mundeta to?

Or who is the one who is saying goodbye to her(s) forever?

Where does that enigmatic title of Montserrat Roig come from and where does doubt about her lead us?

Following another tradition as beautiful as the Joycian one of counting three lives, and in them all the lives, Roig positions himself with

Ramona, goodbye

in the wake of those who greet and say goodbye to things in the titles of her novels.

Good morning, sadness,

what would a novelist say over there;

Hello noon

, what would another poet say over there;

Tomorrow in the battle think of me,

that that man would say goodbye;

Goodbye lamb!,

so-and-so would exclaim;

Welcome Home

, I would greet mengana.

But it is that saying goodbye to Montserrat Roig, by the way, in February 2023, is an almost impossible task.

The plate with her name, in the Montjuic cemetery, awaits us broken and dirty.

There are no flowers.

Two or three fans of her strength still come by, from time to time, to leave pens or papers of thanks for her insatiable feminist fight.

Or have you not seen those photos of Roig in the demonstrations against the decriminalization of adultery?

I am also an adulteress!

, read her banner.

Tomorrow in the battle think of Roig, readers!

Hello Roig!

And then, who says


to our Mundetas?

Perhaps the men who haunted them?

Or is it the city that welcomed them that now rejects them?

Are they themselves the ones who say goodbye to their own name because they want to hide in another mask?

Or in the words of this immense storyteller: “And they would comment on the most fashionable nonsense or the most important political news or the success of their novels, and then they would take the bus, or the car, and say goodbye because they would be in a hurry to return to their daily lives. ”.

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-03-22

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