Montero, Rosa 1951-
Montero, Rosa 1951-
Born January 3, 1951, in Madrid, Spain. Education: Attended University of Madrid, School of Philosophy and Letters, and Madrid Official School of Journalism.
Writer, journalist, and educator. Freelance journalist, c. 1969-76; El Pais newspaper, journalist and columnist, 1976—. Has appeared as an actor in the film Una Tarde Con amor, 1975, and on Spanish television, including the television series De cerca, 1980, Ni a tontas, ni a locas, 1989, and Waku waku, 1990. Has taught at universities in Europe and the United States, including visiting professor at the University of Virginia, c. 1994.
National Prize for Journalism, 1978; World Prize for Interview Journalism, 1978; Journalism Prize of the Association of Motion Picture Writers Human Rights Award, 1989; Premio Primavera, 1997, for La Hija del Caníbal; Critic's Circle of Chile Award, 1999, for La Hija del Caníbal; Gold Medal, Bellas Artes of Valencia, 2000; IV Premio, Veterinary Association of Small Animals, Barcelona, Spain, 2001; "Que Leer" Prize for best book published in Spain, 2003, and Rinzane Cavour Prize, for the best foreign book published in Italy, 2004, both for La loca de la casa.
España para ti para Siempre, A.Q. Ediciones (Madrid, Spain), 1976.
Crónica del Desamor (novel; title means "Chronicle of Enmity"), Editorial Debate (Madrid, Spain), 1979, English translation by Cristina de la Torre and Diana Glad published as Absent Love, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 1991.
La Función Delta, Editorial Debate (Madrid, Spain), 1981, English translation by Kari Easton and Yolanda Molina Gavilán published as The Delta Function, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 1991.
Cinco años de País, Editorial Debate (Madrid, Spain), 1982.
Amado Amo (novel), Editorial Debate (Madrid, Spain), 1988.
Temblor (novel; title means "Tremor"), Seix Barral (Barcelona, Spain), 1990.
Te trataré como a una Reina, (title means "I Will Treat You Like a Queen,"), Seix Barral (Barcelona, Spain), 1992.
Bella y Oscura (title means "Beautiful and Dark"), Seix Barral (Barcelona, Spain), 1993.
La vida desnuda: una mirada apasionada sobre nuestro mundo (title means "The Naked Life,"), El Pais/Aguilar, (Madrid, Spain), 1994.
Historias de Mujeres (nonfiction), Alfaguara (Madrid, Spain), 1995.
Entrevistas, El Pais/Aguilar (Madrid, Spain), 1996.
La Hija del Caníbal (title means "The Cannibal's Daughter"), Espasa (Madrid, Spain), 1997.
Amantes y Enemigos: cuentos de parejas, 2nd edition, Alfaguara (Madrid, Spain), 1998.
Pasiones: amores y desamores que han cambiado la Historia, Aguilar (Madrid, Spain), 1999.
La cita y otros cuentos de Mujeres Infieles, Alfaguara (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 2000.
El corazón del Tártaro, Espasa (Madrid, Spain), 2001.
Estampas bostonianas y otros viajes, Ediciones Peninsula (Barcelona, Spain), 2002.
La loca de la casa (novel; title means "The Crazy Woman in the House"), Alfaguara (Madrid, Spain), 2003.
Historia del rey transparente (title means "The Story of the Translucent King"), Alfaguara (Madrid, Spain), 2005.
Las Barbaridades de Bárbara, Alfaguara (Madrid, Spain), 1996.
El Viaje Fantástico de Bárbara, Alfaguara (Madrid, Spain), 1997.
Bárbara contra el doctor Colmillos, AlfaGuay (Madrid, Spain), 1998.
Author of El nido de los sueños, 1991, and the television show Media naranja. Also author of the prologue to Mi Viaje al Bolqueo by Monserrat Roig, and Spanish translations of two Raymond Briggs books, When the Wind Blows, published in Spanish as Cuando el viento sopia, 1983, and The Tin-pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman, translated as El General Extranjero de Hojalata y la Vieja Dama de Hierro.
Novel La Hija del Caníbal, was adapted as a feature film, 2003; short story "Tarde en la noche," was adapted for television; Lucia, Lucia screenplay adapted by director Antonio Serrano from a novel by author, 2003. Fuzzy Dog Productions plans to film an adaptation of Te trataré como a una Reina.
Rosa Montero achieved national recognition in Spain for her first novel, Crónica del Desamor. Along with Monserrart Roig and Ester Tusquets, Montero is at the forefront of the women writer's movement in Spain.
A graduate of the Madrid Official School of Journalism, she began her career as a journalist in 1969. She has written on a regular basis for the most prestigious newspapers. In 1981 she was the editor of the Sunday supplement of El Pais, and since that time has had a weekly column on the editorial page and is one of Spain's most popular journalists.
Crónica del Desamor, written partially in a documentary style, is an overtly feminist work that examines the female experience in 1970s Spain. The oppressive fascist state is being dismantled following the death of Franco, and traditional gender roles and stereotypes are giving way. The protagonist, Ana, is a journalist and a single parent. Her daily struggle, both economic and emotional, is shown to be not only hers, but common to all her friends who share the same frustrations faced by women in a male-dominated Spanish society. Montero uses flashbacks to the Franco era to heighten the author's belief that, despite the outward appearance of change, too much remains the same. In an interview in Interviews with Spanish Writers, Montero commented: "It is a testimonial novel. Very youthful. It is a fictional work based on people I knew. It's a reflection of my own world." The novel, published in English as Absent Love, was called "important" by a Publishers Weekly contributor.
Montero's second novel, La Función Delta, continues to examine the position of women in post-Franco Spain. Set in the year 2010, the story features Lucia Ramos, a former film director, is dying of cancer. In a departure from the linear documentary style of Crónica del Desamor, the book is written as a metanovel. Consisting of two distinct narratives in the form of diaries; the first is chronicling the last months of her life, the other Easter Week, 1980, when her first and only film opened. In that crucial week of her life, she was abandoned by one of her two lovers and, deciding to retreat from the risk of her independent lifestyle, she moved in with the other man. It turns out that the heroine's movie has the same title as Montero's first novel. A Kirkus Reviews contributor noted: "The double diaries, the imagined terminal illness—this is how Montero distances herself from her own celebrity and success. The novel's hospital nurses—Maria del Dia, Maria del Noche—become almost allegorical figures, again with religious overtones, of life and death. And the final chapter, set on Easter Sunday, poetically fuses both diaries in a time outside of time where life and death, joy and sorrow commingle."
Te trataré como a una Reina continues to examine gender and societal icons in contemporary Spain. In a dreary nightclub in decaying urban Madrid, even Bella, who has seen it all, is lured into believing in illusions to escape her dreary reality. The frame of the novel is a magazine article investigating why Bella tried to murder a man, and the extended flashback forms the principal plot as they deal with the prevailing sexual stereotypes in the world around them and in the literature and in the media they have inherited. Montero confided in Interviews with Spanish Writers: "In Te trataré como a una Reina, I almost went crazy because my characters did not let me say what I wanted and kept forcing me to speak about things I had … [not intended] to mention. So I came to the conclusion that I had to be true to them, because they had a life of their own."
Amado Amo takes a less overtly feminist position and a writes in the third-person voice of a male protagonist. Montero uses her hero, César, to examine the exploitation of the humble by the rich while maintaining a parallel leitmotiv of the exploitation of women by all. The world of business and competition is a man's world, where a woman enters only marginally in the role of a badly treated secretary. Montero told a contributor to Interviews with Spanish Writers: "Personally, I am very proud of Amado Amo. It deals with a topic that I know and I was able to achieve that distance which I deem necessary. I feel I have approached this work with a newly acquired maturity. Like my first novel, it is about a world familiar to me, its success and failure and alienation, but the vast difference is that I was able to write about it with a sense of perspective." The author continued: "I purposely chose a male protagonist who fails in his profession as well as in his personal life. Had I chosen a woman, it would have been less tragic and pathetic. We have been trained to accept defeat since the beginning of time." Birute Ciplijayskaite, writing in World Literature Today, praised Montero's book, noting: "Rosa Montero has always shown great sensitivity to and extraordinary perceptiveness of the little day-to-day problems of today's society. In a psychological novel this comes through even stronger. The technique of free association in moments of self analysis—long sleepless nights—is used very effectively."
Montero believes that being a female writer, she has had to fight for many years to make her voice heard and in the process was forced to relinquish many of her feminine qualities. Her capacity for reaching into the world of fantasy is one of them. The author told a contributor to Interviews with Spanish Writers that she believes that fantasy, together with humor, has been conquering more space with each of her books. Her fifth novel, Temblor, "is my longest and most ambitious novel," she told the Interviews with Spanish Writers contributor. "It takes place in an imaginary world, in a time other than our own. It's a symbolic fairy tale for grown-ups. It evolves around a ten-year span in the life of a young woman, from the time she was twelve to her twenty-second birthday. It reads like an adventure novel, but it is really a metaphysical voyage into life. It deals with the passing of time, the anguish of living."
In 1997 Montero was awarded the Premio Primavera for La Hija de Caníbal. In a sort of reunification of her earlier autobiographical style to the more structured experiments of her later books, Montero created Lucia, a forty-year-old childless writer traveling to Vienna with her husband, Raman, who mysteriously disappears from the airport minutes before boarding their flight. She reports the disappearance to the authorities but starts searching for her husband on her own. She enlists the help of two friends, an old anarchist of the civil war era and a twenty-one-year- old who is attracted to the much older Lucia. Jorge Gonzalez, writing in Library Journal noted: "The struggle to find her husband eventually leads Lucia to embark on a search for her own identity. This absorbing and masterly novel has elements of suspense that will enthrall the reader."
In La loca de la casa, which means "The Crazy Woman in the House," the author presents a novel that is also part essay and part autobiography. A School Library Journal contributor noted that the author writes about "fantasy, memory, and artistic creation." Montero is also author of Historias de Mujeres, in which she presents eighteen biographies—which first appeared in the Spanish newspaper El Pais—of extraordinary women who served as muses to male artists and writers. Patricia Hart, writing in World Literature Today, noted the "immensely satisfying way in which this skilled fiction writer constructs the narration of each woman's life, and the keen explorations she makes in each case of the conditions conducive to success or failure, happiness or frustration."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Bloomsbury Guide to Women's Literature, Prentice Hall General Reference (New York, NY), 1992.
Interviews with Spanish Writers, Archive Press (Elmwood Park, IL.), 1991.
Modern Women Writers, Continuum Publishing (New York, NY), 1996.
Peretz, Janet, Contemporary Women Writers of Spain, Twayne Publishers (Boston, MA), 1988.
American Book Review, February, 1994, A. Robert Lee, review of Absent Love, p. 23.
Anales de la Literatura Espanola Contemporanea, 1987, Elena Gascon Vera, article on the novels of Rosa Montero, p. 59; 1987, Kathleen Glenn, analysis of Te trataré como a una Reina, p. 191; 1993, Thomas R Franz, review of Temblor, p. 261; 1999, Javier Escudero, review of Bella y Oscura, p. 85.
Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies, fall, 2000, Javier Escudero, Julio Gonzalez, interview with Rosa Montero, p. 211.
Belles Lettres, fall, 1992, review of Absent Love, p. 68.
Book World, April, 1992, Jennifer Howard, review of The Delta Function, p. 11.
Booklist, March 1, 1992, Jane Jurgens, review of The Delta Function, p. 1197.
Cincinnati Romance Review, December, 1993, Susan Lucas Dobrian, review of Te trataré como a una Reina, p. 111.
Cuadernos de Aldeeu, November, 1992, Elena Gascon-Vera, review of Temblor, p. 153.
Economist, February 14, 1998, review of La Hija del Caníbal, p. R16.
Espana Contemporanea, autumn, 1999, Javier Escudero, article on Rosa Montero, p. 21.
Extrapolation, winter 2005, Dale Knickerbocker, "Apocalypse, Apotheosis, and Transcendence in Rosa Montero's Temblor," p. 469.
Hispania, March, 1994, Kathleen Glenn, review of Bella y Oscura, p. 82.
Hispanic Journal, fall, 1997, Thomas R Franz, treatment of homosexuality in works of Rosa Montero, p. 201.
Hispanofila, May, 1998, Mary C. Harges, article on Rosa Montero, p. 31; September, 1998, Mary C. Harges, article on Rosa Montero, p. 15.
Inti: Revista de Literatura Hispanica, fall, 1998, Rafael Cabanas Alaman, review of Historias de Mujeres, p. 147.
Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 1992, review of The Delta Function, p. 14.
Letras Femeninas, spring, 1992, Alma Amell, article on treatment of marinality in novels of Rosa Montero, p. 74; spring, 1998, Lynn K Talbot, interview with Rosa Montero, p. 90.
Letras Peninsulares, spring, 1988, Kathleen Glenn, article on novels of Rosa Montero, p. 87; spring, 1995, Javier Escudero, article on Rosa Montero, p. 327, and Alan E. Smith, interview with Rosa Montero, p. 327.
Library Journal, December, 1991, Mary Ellen Beck, review of Absent Love, p. 198; March 1, 1992, Mary Ellen Beck, review of The Delta Function, p. 120; January, 1999, Jorge Gonzalez, review of La Hija del Caníbal, p. 78.
Mid-Hudson Language Studies, Volume 4, 1981, Luis A. Oyarzun, analysis of Crónica del Desamor, p. 135.
Monographic Review/Revista Monografica, Volume 8, 1992, Phyllis Zatlin, article on Rosa Montero and women's literature, p. 114.
Neophilologus, January, 1998, Rose Marie Marcone, review of Absent Love, p. 63.
New England Review, spring, 1993, Pamela Erens, review of Absent Love, p. 195.
Plaza: Revista de Literatura, autumn, 1986, Antonio Monegal, interview with Rosa Montero, p. 5.
Publishers Weekly, November 15, 1991, review of Absent Love, p. 68; January 20, 1992, review of The Delta Function, p. 57.
Review of Contemporary Fiction, summer, 1992, Jack Byrne, review of Absent Love, p. 214.
Revista de Estudios Hispanicos, January, 1988, Concha Alborg, article on metafiction in the work of Rosa Montero, p. 67; May, 1997, Javier Escudero, interview with Rosa Montero, p. 327; May, 1999, Javier Escudero, article on Rosa Montero, p. 21.
Revista Hispanica Moderna, December, 1995, Alan E. Smith, review of Amado Amo, p. 265, and Susana Reisz, article on Rosa Montero, p. 189.
Revista Hispanoamericana de Cultura, July, 1984, Cristobal Sarrias, article on treatment of youth in the work of Rosa Montero, p. 25.
RLA: Romance Languages Annual, 1990, Kathleen Glenn, article on novels of Rosa Montero, p. 460; 1991, Ines Arribas, article on novels of Rosa Montero, p. 348; Kathleen Glenn, article on novels of Rosa Montero, p. 460; 1996, Luis Guadano, review of Temblor, p. 503, and Sheri Spaine Long, article on Rosa Montero, p. 666.
School Library Journal, June, 2003, review of La loca de la casa, p. SS45.
Town and Country, April, 1990, Kathleen Wheaton, review of contemporary Spanish literature, p. 104.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), March, 1992, review of The Delta Function, p. 7.
Virginia Quarterly Review, autumn, 1992, review of The Delta Function, p. 129.
World Literature Today, winter, 1989, Birute Ciplijayskaite, review of Amado Amo, p. 73; spring, 1991, Joan T. Cain, review of Temblor, p. 275; autumn, 1997, Patricia Hart, review of Historias de Mujeres, p. 764.
Bellayoscusra.com,http://www.bellayoscura.com/ (February 2, 2002), article on Rosa Montero.
Don Quijote,http://www.donquijote.org/ (January 22, 2007), profile of author.
Exodusltd.com,http://www.exodusltd.com/ (February, 22, 2002), review of Pasiones: amores y desamores que han cambiado la Historia,
Inside UVA Web site,http://www.virginia.edu/uvatoday/ (January 22, 2007), "Rosa Montero Talks about the Intimacy of Writing."
Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (January 22, 2007), information on author's film and television work.
La Insignia,http://www.lainsignia.com/ (February 2, 2002), article on Rosa Montero.
La Pagina Definitiva,http://www.lapaginadefinitiva.com/ (February 2, 2002), article on Rosa Montero.
Verdemente,http://www.verdemente.com/ (February 2, 2002), interview with Rosa Montero.