Salisachs, Mercedes (Rovilralta) 1916-
SALISACHS, Mercedes (Rovilralta) 1916-
PERSONAL: Born September 18, 1916, in Barcelona, Spain; married, 1935; children: five. Education: Attended School of Commerce, Barcelona. Hobbies and other interests: Interior decorating, travel.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Plaza y Janés Editor, Enric Granados 86-88, Barcelona 8008, Spain.
CAREER: Novelist and short story writer. Interior decorating firm, partner.
AWARDS, HONORS: City of Barcelona prize, 1960, for Una mujer llega al pueblo; Premio Planeta, 1975, for La gangrena.
Fohen, c. 1940, revised and published as Adán Helicóptero, Editorial AHR (Barcelona, Spain), 1957.
Los que se queden, Juventud (Barcelona, Spain), 1942.
Primera mañana, última mañana, Liberia de Caralt (Barcelona, Spain), 1955, reprinted, Plaza y Janés (Barcelona, Spain), 1999.
Carretera intermedia, Libreria de Caralt (Barcelona, Spain), 1956, reprinted, Plaza y Janés (Barcelona, Spain), 1999.
Más allá de los raíles, Libreria de Caralt (Barcelona, Spain), 1957.
Una mujer llega al pueblo (title means "A Woman Comes to Town"), Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1957, reprinted, Plaza y Janés (Barcelona, Spain), 1999, translation by Delano Ames published as The Eyes of the Proud, Harcourt Brace (New York, NY), 1960.
Pasos conocidos, Pareja y Borrás (Barcelona, Spain), 1958.
Vendimia interrumpida, Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1960.
La estación de las hojas amarillas, Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1963, reprinted, Plaza y Janés (Barcelona, Spain), 1999.
El declive y la cuesta, Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1966.
La última aventura, Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1967.
La decoración, Nauta (Barcelona, Spain), 1969.
Adagio confidencial, Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1973.
La gangrena, Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1975.
Viaje a Sodoma, Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1977.
El proyecto y otros relatos, Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1978.
La presencia, Argos Vergara (Barcelona, Spain), 1979.
Derribos, Argos Vergara (Barcelona, Spain), 1981.
La sinfonía y las moscas, Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1982.
Los volumen de la ausencia (title means "The Volume of Absence"), Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1983.
La danza de los salmones: una fábula novelada, Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1985.
Bacteria mutante, Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1996.
El secreto de las flores, Plaza y Janés (Barcelona, Spain), 1997.
La voz del árbol, Plaza y Janés (Barcelona, Spain), 1998.
Los clamores del silencio, Plaza y Janés (Barcelona, Spain), 2000.
Contributor to anthologies, including El Interrogante de Garabandal and She Went in Haste to the Mountain. Works have been translated into English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Swedish, and Finnish.
SIDELIGHTS: Mercedes Salisachs is one of Spain's most successful contemporary authors. Her early works, including La mujer llega al pueblo and La gangrena, garnered both critical attention and awards. Throughout Salisachs' literary career she has written about such issues as adultery, homosexuality, alcoholism, and drug addiction, but always with a keen eye focused on the style, structure, and content of her work.
La mujer llega al pueblo centers around the love triangle of Eulalia, Joanet, and José Mendía. Such an "arrangement" results in nothing but tragedy when suppositions of the paternity of Eulalia's unborn child combine with suppressed emotions to lead Joanet to murder. According to Phyllis Zatlin in Letras Femeninas, "underlying the facile use of caricatures and a surface level of comedy, there is an undercurrent of friction between the Catalan-speaking pueblo and the wealthy Mendías and their cosmopolitan friends, as well as a resentment of the tourist invasion in spite of the money it brings." The critic added: "Salisachs' point, of course, is that martyrdom is still in style for young women like Eulalia who may be victimized simultaneously by the immorality of the upper classes and the self-righteousness of most representatives of the lower classes."
Salisachs' novel Adagio confidencial concerns the reunion of a couple after a twenty-year separation, while Derribos is a memoir of the author's childhood. Elena Olazagasti-Segovia, reviewing Derribos in Letras Femeninas, noted that the novelist "recognizes the great weight of the past in any individual's life, for [Salisachs'] opinion is: 'The neutral and realistic recollection of the roots that time allows us . . . can open large avenues to have us compress not only our present but our future, without external behaviors we arrive at collisions and disappointment.'" According to Olazagasti-Segovia, "Salisachs accepts the connection between life and work: 'Surely I have not written a single page without, mixing the fiction, [life] is strained [like liquid] in the part of my [work] that happens to liberate the one who falls behind.'"
Los volumen de la ausencia, according to a contributor in Modern Women Writers, "tells the story of a middle-aged woman who has just been told that she has a terminal disease." The contributor explained that the 1983 novel is considered among the author's best, "especially in its psychological portrayal." La sinfonia de las moscas is the tragic story of a family living in Barcelona during the middle part of the twentieth century. Salisachs' Los clamores del silencio touches upon the incredible grief she experienced after the death of her son Miguel in 1958.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Robinson, Lillian S., editor and compiler, ModernWomen Writers, Continuum Publishing (New York, NY), 1996.
Booklist, March 1, 1975, Earle M. Gladden, review of Adagio confidencial, p. 675; August, 1983, Erwin Butler, review of Derribos, p. 1451; May 15, 1984, Erwin Butler, review of La sinfonía de las moscas, p. 1335.
Letras Femeninas, spring, 1990, Phyllis Zatlin, "Childbirth with Fear: Bleeding to Death Softly," pp. 37-44; spring-fall, 1992, Elena Olazagasti-Segovia, "'En busca del tiempo perdidio': Tres novelistas españolas cuentan su historia," pp. 64-73.*