Forty Lost Years - Rosa Maria Arquimbau

Forty Lost Years

; Peter Bush (Oversetter)

Published for the first time in 1971, Forty Lost Years tells the story of Laura Vidal, a woman who becomes a

high-fashion dressmaker to the rich women of Barcelona during Franco's dictatorship. Les mer
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Published for the first time in 1971, Forty Lost Years tells the story of Laura Vidal, a woman who becomes a

high-fashion dressmaker to the rich women of Barcelona during Franco's dictatorship. Rosa Maria Arquimbau's

masterpiece relives forty years of Catalan history from the proclamation of the Republic to the end of the 1960s

and recreates the frivolous atmosphere of sexually liberal republican Barcelona and the desolation of a country

defeated by the Fascists.
Innbinding: Paperback
Språk: Engelsk
Sider: 156
ISBN: 9781913744014
Format: 20 x 13 cm

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—Preti Taneja, author of We That Are Young

Passionate and cutting, raucous and truthful - the feminist revolutionary classic I've been waiting to read. A supreme and tragic achievement

—Sebastiaan Faber, author of Exhuming Franco: Spain’s Second Transition

In Peter Bush’s masterful, limber translation, Arquimbau’s trenchant and touching account of daily life in Catalonia, from the transgressive, liberating excitement of the Second Republic to the dreary decades of the Franco dictatorship, teaches us as much about those forty years of history as any historian could.

—Ruwa Alhayek, Asymptote Literary Journal. Full review here

Arquimbau’s tale is a masterpiece of motley moods—that near-universally familiar frivolity that tries its best to ignore overwhelming despair, the cruel indifference of the nouveau riche fat with luxury made possible by the poverty of others, time and need-imposed numbness, nostalgia for a home that forces you to escape to a foreign but safe place, notions of moral elasticity painted once, twice, three times over disgust with oneself until it looks like effortless composure.

—Jackie Law, Never Imitate Literary Blog. Full review here

An enjoyable read set in a time of great change that refuses to pander to a stoicism that so often veneers survivors who are later regarded as worldly successes. The characters portrayed here have flaws as well as strengths, and this adds to their depth.

—Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings Literary Blog. Full review here

Engrossing, inspiring and unforgettable, “Forty Lost Years” is a powerful and often emotional read which takes you through the highs and lows of a woman living through dramatic times. The perfect read for Spanish and Porguguese Lit Month, and a book I highly recommend – kudos to Fum D’Estampa, Peter Bush, Julia Guillamon and all concerned!

—Clara Ponsatí, Member of the European Parliament and political activist

Forty Lost Years, a story of a woman's struggle to grow and remain free against all odds throughout the dramatic episodes of the Catalan 20th century, is more politically and socially relevant today than ever.

—Grant Rintoul, First Reading Literary Blog. Full review here

Forty Lost Years may only be 140 pages long, but it has the feel of an epic, covering not only the turbulent history of Catalonia over that time, but the astonishing journey of its central character from little more than a child to a successful, independent woman. Laura’s determination to survive, and remain free, is inspiring, but also touches on the personal sacrifices that she must make. There have been fifty lost years as we have awaited for this wonderful novel to be translated into English.

—THE MODERN NOVEL. Full review here

Arquimbau tells an excellent feminist tale of a woman who is determined to be independent and do what she wants to do, regardless of the opinion of others. At the same time, it gives us a portrait of Barcelona during a troubled period of its history. The main cause of its problems was the Civil War and the resulting Franco regime. While the Civil War is certainly mentioned, Franco is not, though he did not die till after this book was published, and was an ever-present shadow over Barcelona and Catalonia. Whether Laura, despite everything, did have not a bad life is for the reader to judge, despite her opinion of forty lost years.

—Esther Vilar Portillo, Caràcters

The author filters her own experiences and reflections on the period through her magnificent prose and a prism of personal and political insights that perfectly represent living under a dictatorship and the pain and suffering that society went through. An essential book.

—Pere Guixà, La Vanguardia

A beautifully written, bitter novel about the loss of innocence. Its disenchanted, melancholic tone sets the scene for what is one of the most powerful novels about life under Franco.


Born in Barcelona, Arquimbau was a relevant Catalan female activist, journalist and writer whose genres included short stories, novels, dramas, comedies, essays, and poetry. Her short stories were first published when she was a teenager. The humor in her comedies is described as ironic and situational.

During the period of 1924-36, she worked at almost all of the daily and weekly newspapers of the left: Joventut Catalana, La Dona Catalana, Flames Noves, La Nau, Imatges, La Publicitat, l'Opinio, and La Humanitat. She wrote a column in La Rambla, called "Films & Soda", her comments, often laced with irony, depicting the changes women face. Writing on topics such as secularism, the death penalty, fashion, women's prisons, politics, morality, and Mussolini antifeminism, her articles often caused controversy with more conservative newspapers.

Arquimbau was a political activist. In 1932, she signed the Bases per a la Constitucio d'un Front Unic Femeni Esquerrista, participating in the campaign to collect signatures in favor of women's suffrage. She was president of the "Front Unic Femeni Esquerrista" (United Front of Women from the Left), as well as a member of the Republican Left of Catalonia. She was associated with the Club Femeni i d'Esports de Barcelona i al Lyceum Club, Associacio de Periodistes de Barcelona and Foment de Cultura Femenina.

Arquimbau received the Premio Joan de Santa Maria in 1957. She died in Barcelona in 1991.