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It is therefore probably no surprise that it is out of print in English. It is a profoundly feminist novel, telling the story of a young woman continuously exploited by men. She is taken in by an old couple, Senyor Jaume and Senyora Magdalena. They do not formally register her but do bring her up as their own. She tells of her upbringing in moderately affectionate terms, with Jaume and Magdalena and their two cousins, Maria-Cinta, and Raquel, being kind to her.
Her first male friend is Eusebi and they become close. From that time on, she is exploited by men. She lives in a shack in a shantytown and tries to make a living sewing but is not very good at it and makes only a little money. In the meantime, she has made a few pesetas in prostitution.
Eusebi is arrested for theft and sent to prison. He will try and escape a few times but is caught every time and beaten up. She never sees him again. However, he eventually gets ill and dies. From that time on she is looked after by various men. She hates living in the apartment and she is seemingly harassed by her neighbour and the tailor opposite, though it is not entirely clear if this is genuine or paranoia on her part.
Eventually Marc passes her off, temporarily, to Eladi, a man with an eye patch, who takes away her clothes and makes her wander around the apartment naked. There she is knocked around for her apparent infidelity with the general. When she reveals that she is pregnant, she is to all intents and purposes thrown out and has a miscarriage. He seems to treat her well. She is a woman who tries to stand up for herself but, without education and on her own, she can only try to make the best out of the situation she is in.
The Modern Novel
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El carrer de les Camèlies
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