Montero, Rosa


Montero, Rosa
b. 1952, Madrid
   Writer
   Many of Rosa Montero's best-selling novels focus on women's identity, but they also ponder broader existential and ethical concerns in the modern world. Montero's training as a journalist and in psychology are evident in the forthright, reportorial style of her first novels and in her witty exploration of human nature. Later narratives are increasingly imaginative and creative. Although Montero wrote stories as a child, she later felt she had nothing original to say in a fictional work, and concentrated on journalism. She contributed to a variety of presses as a teenager, began working for El País in 1976, and has won awards for her interviews and journalistic style. Several of Montero's publications are collections of columns previously published in El País. In the collection Historias de mujeres (Stories of Women), Montero explains her interest in feminism as an introduction to biographical sketches of intriguing women throughout history. Montero's novelistic publication emerged from an editor's request for a book of interviews with women. Wanting to diverge from interrogative reporting, Montero wrote a narrative documentary, Absent Love: A Chronicle (Crónica del desamor, 1979), which glimpses at the daily life of four women in the transitional period after Franco's dictatorship. These women express opinions about abortion, birth control, marriage and divorce, homosexuality, and other formerly taboo topics. The Delta. Function (La función Delta, 1981) is thematically similar, but features a dying woman in the year 2010 recalling her life in the 1980s. The humour, spontaneity, and popularity of these texts attenuate criticism that they are predominately feminist propaganda. Succeeding novels are more diverse. Te trataré como a una reina (I'll Treat You Lake a Queen) (1983) is a parody of the murder mystery genre that probes society's unequal treatment of the sexes, while Amado amo (Beloved Master) (1988) focuses on male identity and insecurity in Spain's increasingly capitalistic environment. Both works paint a pessimistic view of patriarchal culture. Montero's use of fantasy in later novels suggests that creativity facilitates identity formation in a changing world. Temblor (Trembling) (1990), an allegory in a future post-holocaust age; El nido de las sueños (The Nest of Dreams) (1991), a children's novel; and Bella y oscura (Beautiful and Dark) (1993) all feature young female protagonists who employ imagination to improve their lives. In Bella y oscura, Baba's arrival by train to live with relatives after her mother's death is hauntingly similar to the situations in Carmen Laforet's Nada and Ana María Matute's Primera memoria. The setting, however, is a 1990s city plagued with poverty, child abuse and pollution. A magical Lilliputian's fantastic tales inspire Baba to create her own identity and to shield herself against adversity. These partially chimerical novels with ontological implications promise Montero continued popularity among a widening audience.
   Further reading
   - Amell, A. (1994) Rosa Montero's Odyssey, Lanham and London: University Press of America (an exploration of ontological themes in Montero's novels).
   - Davies, C. (1994) Contemporary Feminist Fiction in Spain: The Work of Montserrat Roig and Rosa Montero, Oxford and Providence, RI: Berg (a feminist analysis of Roig's and Montero's novels).
   SANDRA J. SCHUMM

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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