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The Time of the Doves by Mercè Rodoreda

The Time of the Doves by Mercè Rodoreda is a powerfully written story of Natalia, a naive shopgirl struggling through life in Barcelona during the Second Spanish Republic and the Spanish Civil War. It is a rare and moving portrait of a simple soul confronting and surviving a convulsive period of history.

The novel has been through over twenty printings in Spain and translated into more than thirty languages. It is regarded as one of the most important pieces of fiction in contemporary Catalan literature.


"[I] read [The Time of the Doves] cover to cover all in one afternoon. When I was finished, I felt as foolish as Balboa discovering the powerful Pacific".

-Sandra Cisneros

"The most beautiful novel published in Spain since the Civil War".

- Gabriel García Márquez

About the Product

  • Type:Paperback
  • Published: 1986
  • ISBN: 9780915308750
  • Length: 201 Pages
  • The Time of the Doves by Mercè Rodoreda was first published in 1964


About the Author

Mercè Rosa Rodoreda i Gurguí was born on 10 October 1908, in Barcelona, Spain. Both her parents valued education and the arts but their acute financial problems forced Mercè to leave school at age nine. However,  she later returned, attending an academy where she studied only French and business arithmetic.

When Mercè was 20 years old, she married her wealthy uncle Juan who had lived with her family throughout most of her teens and whom she idealized. On July 23, 1929, their only son, Jordi Gurguí i Rodoreda, was born. Though Mercè loved her son, she did not like the economic and social dependency that came with married life and she began to consider a career as a writer. When the Spanish Republic was declared in 1931, she became more involved in cultural activities and started writing,

In 1932, she wrote her first novel, Am I an honored woman?  The following year she began working as a journalist writing for a weekly Catalan newspaper, though she continued to write and publish novels. 

In 1936, the Spanish Civil war erupted. Mercè split from her husband in 1937 and that same year her alleged lover, Andrew Nin, was arrested by Soviet police officers on La Rambla in Barcelona, and later tortured and killed. 

On January 23, 1939, a few months before the defeat of the Republicans, she fled from Barcelona, along with her son and mother. Like many other writers, she took refuge in Paris, France, though she left for a period when WW2 broke out. 

In exile, she continued to write novels in her native Catalan language, including The Time of the Doves (also called In Diamond Square / La plaça del diamant), which was first published in 1962. She won several awards and saw a number of her books made into films. 

In 1972 she finally returned to Spain and Catalonia, settling in Girona where she died of advanced liver cancer on 13 April 1983.

Mercè Rodoreda is considered the most influential contemporary Catalan language writer.

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