ABSTRACT

This chapter is a meditation on Kristeva’s work on abjection and “chica rara”/narrator Andrea’s recollections of her year spent on Aribau Street (Barcelona). An invitation to consider Carmen Laforet’s Nada (Nothing; 1945) as a cathartic hollowing of the personal, national, political, and religious crises pandemic in postwar Barcelona, I argue that Andrea’s self-subscribed “small, miserable role as spectator” (Laforet 192) is a narratorial, artistic, and authorial vehicle through which these abject experiences are revealed. Following Kristeva’s definition of literature as the “hollowing out of abjection through the Crisis of the Word” (208), this essay explores the ways in which fictional Andrea’s narrated memories filter and reveal the unnamable and repressed about daily life in the first years of the Francisco Franco dictatorship. The titular “nothing” of day-to-day life to which Andrea serves as witness and eventual author is read as a queer testimony that embraces lesbian positivity and that constitutes, and eventually sublimates, the abject state of postwar Spain.