Garden by the Sea

Garden by the Sea

By Mercè Rodoreda
230 pages
February 2021

Nothing could describe how happy I was today to receive one of the books I was the most excited about ordering last month. I didn't expect it to arrive so fast. Dropping everything, taking a day off, missing in bookstore action tomorrow! (Aude-the-bookseller) Monday, January 11th.

“Rodoreda has bedazzled me by the sensuality with which she reveals things within the atmosphere of her novels.”―Gabriel García Márquez

The novel that defined Mercè Rodoreda’s most prolific period is finally available in English for the first time. Set in 1920s Spain, Garden by the Sea takes place over six summers at a villa by the sea inhabited by a young couple and their beautiful, rich, joyous friends. They swim, drink, tease each other, and fully enjoy themselves. All the while, the guests are observed by the villa’s gardener, a widower who’s been tending the garden for several decades. As the true protagonist of the novel, we get to see the dissolution of these magical summers through his eyes, as a sense of darkness and ending creeps in, precipitated by the construction of a new, larger, more glamorous villa next door.

Considered by many to be one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century, Rodoreda has captivated readers for decades with her exacting descriptions of life―and nature―in post-war Spain, and this novel will further her reputation and fill in an important piece of her oeuvre.

“The humor in the stories, as well as their thrill of realism, comes from a Nabokovian precision of observation and transformation of plain experience into enchanting prose.”Los Angeles Times

“It is Garden by the Sea’s understated nature what makes it so elegant, and so captivating. This is a novel that slowly “unfolds” in pleats―or, perhaps more appropriately, in petals. Layers of information unfurl, piece by piece, until finally the whole picture is in bloom. It might make you gasp.”—Harvard Review

“In Garden by the Sea, a slow-motion melodrama plays out, but, filtered through the eyes of the servants, it’s kept at a distance. . . . The physical place occupies the foreground—the colors of plants tended or mistreated, and the frame of the vast, ever-changing sea.”Harper’s Magazine