"As a beautiful counterpoint to numerous Spanish and Catalan works highlighting the Civil War where the politics are played out throughout, this is a fresh voice of the personal impact of those events." Messengers Booker

 

"This is the quiet story of a woman living on the land, valuing family connections, friends, differences and respect built up by years of honouring and community interdependence." Book Word

 

"I enjoyed Stone in a Landslide mainly for the wonderful narrative voice of Conxa. She's born into a hard life where being pragmatic and hard-working are skills prized above all, but she has a dreamy, romantic soul that can't be squashed." Tiny Library 

 

"Conxa reminded me of Pelagia, a character from Captain Corelli's Mandolin, which is one of my all-time favourite novels, in the way that she revels in a world she knows and falls in love in, only for war and death to rip her life to shreds and for her to grow old and lose touch as the world moves ceaselessly on without her. " Tolstoy is my Cat

 

"This was a beautifully told tale, though bittersweet as well. It was sparsely written, but still Barbal conveys so much in so few pages." A Work in Progress

 

"Beautifully crafted, this book manages to say more in 126 pages than most longer novels are able to do ... an amazing work of fiction."  Wendy Robards, Caribousmom

 

"This is a quiet book, filled with thoughts to contemplate. The slow pace of the village life and the tremendous hard work is unimaginable. After I finished the book, I found myself returning to it for the simple prose and the way she can say so much in so few words." Amy Henry, The Black Sheep Dances

 

"A truly marvellous little gem of a book." Maryom,Our Book Reviews online

 

"The book was very easy to read, but the simplicity of the prose left me cold. The 126 pages flew by, but I felt that it tried to cover too much in a short time and so I ended the book desperate to know more."  Jackie Bailey, Farm Lane Books

 

"This is a novella that allows the reader to accompany an unobtrusive narrator through a lifetime punctuated by a well known historical event but never dominated by it, never to my mind has such a tumultuous period been portrayed by such a gentle presence. What actually remains is the touching portrait of a woman shaped by the world she lived in, the book defined by the fact that she is the one in a position to paint it." William Rycroft, Just William's Luck
 

"Tolstoy, in a long essay found as the epilogue to War and Peace, goes to great lengths to explain that the force of history is the accumulation of a million different happenstances, and not the directed will of a single person or group of people. ...  Stone in a Landslide captures the essence of this argument well... [Conxa] is not of history but is caught up in it." Damian Kelleher,Literary reviews and essays

 

"Have you ever watched one of those documentaries where people who lived through a major historical event talk about how their everyday lives were, during that time? These people radiate such naturalness as they talk about a time of great historical significance from an intimate perspective. The narrative tone of ‘Stones in a Landslide’ feels like these kind of documentaries, as Conxa simply relates the story of her life in quiet, unflappable prose." Jodie Baker, Book Gazing

 

"Conxa is a wonderful narrator and tells her story, looking back on her long life as an old lady, remembering the taste of food, the smell of the meadows and dancing until she is dizzy, never once complaining about her lot or, never throwing herself a pity-party, rather recalling the events of a life in rural Spain." Boof, The Book Whisperer

 

"The portrait of village life is great .It remind me of the stories I heard from people when I worked in a day centre in rural Northumberland ,the same tales of differences between villages." Stuart Allen,Winstonsdad's Blog

 

"But I simply wasn’t part of Stone in a Landslide. With her voice, that calm/placid tone — it felt like Conxa herself was intent on not reliving her life. ... I’m not saying the shortness is the flaw, or that Barbal packed too much. I am conscious of how Barbal told the story, aware of why a contemplative tone was needed in this kind of reminiscing. But. Again, I wasn’t getting it. I wasn’t getting the book, I wasn’t getting my reaction to the book. I’ve been almost certain that I love this." Sasha Martinez, Sasha & The Silverfish

 

"Like Laura McGloughlin’s and Paul Mitchell’s translation (which has the kind of precise simplicity that deflects attention away from it), Conxa’s life both is and isn’t as ordinary as it appears, in the sense that all lives can be – and are, in their own way – extraordinary at times, just as a simple stone can be part of an extraordinary." David Hebblethwaite, Follow the Thread

 

"For me too many novels are about middle class writers or academics struggling with minor emotional crises within fundamentally comfortable lives. Too many novels give voice to people whose voice has always been heard. Stone in a Landslide gives a voice to a peasant woman with no desire to change the world and that perhaps is the most revolutionary thing about it." Max Cairnduff,Pechorin's Journal

 

"Even though Barbal is narrating the story of a woman who lived in a different century with a completely different background from most of us, her way of telling this tale has a certain timeless quality about it which I enjoyed very much." Lotus Reads

 

"In some ways this is a coming of age tale that happens to include the bitter twist of war. The narrative voice is the feature of this story that is something you will remember long after the book has been put to one side." Simon Quicke, inside books

 

"This is a short but powerful book ... So much is covered – a whole life really. Nothing seems left out, and the feelings and events are portrayed so beautifully." Amy McKie, Amy Reads
 

"Although Conxa modestly denies being any real source of history, the story of her life nevertheless reflects the growth of Catalan society - indeed, of many societies - in the twentieth century. And that, I believe, is the main reason Stones in a Landslide enjoys such strong international resonance. There is a universality to Conxa that is beautifully highlighted by Maria Barbal's vivid writing." Eileen Fay, this-book-and-I-could-be-friends

 

"And while the author may have wanted to convey the simplicity of a rural woman's experience (Conxa is largely unfamiliar with the world beyond the fields she tends), I read the entire book feeling like an observer, and not a participant. As a result, I didn't love this book as much as I expected, but I did enjoy being in the company of this quiet, reflective character." Kim Forrester, Reading Matters
 

"I thought this was excellent, though of course, I don’t know how much of Barbal’s voice comes through in the translation. I think that is one of the most frustrating things for me about translations; the reason why I’m reading a translation is because I can’t read the original, and the fact that I don’t know what I could be missing is what I find intensely irritating. However, the fact Stone in a Landslide was translated didn’t lessen my enjoyment of it, and I am pleased that I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried a modern European translation. Judging by the passion and excellent critical eye of Meike at Peirene, I think I will be trying many more novels from their selection." Rachel Fenn, Book Snob

 

 "Have you ever felt so excited about reading a book that you felt hesitant to finally pick it up? Stone in a Landslide was like that for me. I had to take a deep breath and resolve that I should start reading and stop worrying that it would be finished soon. I could always reread it. And it is certainly a story that deserves to be reread. At little over a hundred pages I finished it all too quickly, and yet I don’t feel that the story needs any more detail to have an impact."  Iris on books

 

" I thought it was too short for its scope. Taking just 126 pages to narrate the life of a young girl from the age of 13 to her old age, in addition to reflecting the landslides of the Civil War and the transition from rural to urban economy, means that there’s no time to get involved with the characters." Marcia Jarrell, Lizzy's Literary Life

 

"Conxa is given a voice that is undemonstrative, flowing along in a way that is unobtrusive but never dull. I don't know how Barbal does it, because each individual sentence is very plain, but somehow they combine to make a voice that is startlingly present and human." Simon Thomas, stuck-in-a-book
 

"Stone in a Landslide was a pleasure to read. I was impressed at how the writing was emotive but restrained, and it was descriptive without being indulgent. I really heard Conxa’s voice. I felt I was listening to her experiences which were that of a lifetime covered in just a few pages. A wonderful glimpse into a life of beauty and of upheaval." Polly Littlewood, novelinsights
 

"It was a pleasure to read Stone in a Landslide, the ficitional life-story of a Catalonian woman living in a village deep in the Pyrenees. The author, Maria Barbal, is a highly regarded Catalan writer and I can only admire the translators Laura McGloughlin and Paul Mitchell who have done such a good job of translating the harsh tones of this difficult language into sparse but elegant English. " Tom Cunliffe, A Common Reader

 

"Despite being a mere 126 pages, this is a masterful portrait of a rural life in the Pyrenees. It’s subsistence living, each family struggling to get by with their few fields, but it’s a good life for those that are lucky enough to find a soul-mate like Conxa. This is a story of strong characters, dominated by Conxa and Jaume of course whose love story shines through the hardships. The passage of time just flows by without any unnecessary explanations, and all too soon I reached the last page. A hugely enjoyable read." Annabel Gaskell, gaskella

 

"You don’t normally think that you would be in the position where you have really high expectations from the next book you read from a publisher, especially when it’s the second book they are publishing. That is however how I have been feeling with the latest Peirene Press release ‘Stone in a Landslide’ by Maria Barbal. It is really all the fault of their first book ‘Beside The Sea’, which I think is one of the best books that I have read in recent years, which I am still thinking about and recommending to anyone and everyone. So no pressure then for this book as I sat down to read it. ... Stone in a Landslide’ has been a best seller around the whole of Europe since its initial release in 1985 and now having read the book I can see why, it’s a beautiful simplistic and touching book that leaves you feeling reflective, yet in a hopeful way. It’s also a book that makes me even more excited about what might be coming next from Peirene Press" Simon Savidge, Savidge Reads

 

 "Births and deaths are skipped over, decades pass, wars and revolutions come and go, but more importantly it’s time to take the animals to pasture and the poplar trees are waving in the wind. It’s a slightly strange way to tell a story, but it made me realise that memories do really work this way... That’s pretty much the way this book is put together, and it works very well. It feels like what it is, the remembrances of an old woman looking back on her life, and the accumulation of details allowed me to feel part of the story much more than in many much longer books I’ve read. The passage of time is marked very clearly, and although the story covers a lifetime in 126 pages, the fast-forwarding never feels abrupt." Andrew Blackman

  

"To cover a woman’s whole life in 126 pages in no mean feat, and a lesser writer would end up with something that felt rushed. Not so Maria Barbal, who skips whole decades between chapters yet never once leaves the reader feeling that they have missed something. She carefully yet subtly lets the reader know when a particular chapter is either by marking the passing of seasons, by mentioning the year, or by telling us how old the children are. None of this is intrusive, and it was only after having finished the whole thing that I appreciated just how much she had packed into relatively few words, and just how cleverly she had done it. Stone in a Landslide is, by all accounts, a modern Catalan classic, and has apparently reached its 50th edition. I can see why." Kirsty McHugh, Other Stories

  

"I was in the middle of reading a number of books which I wanted to finish, but when this little beauty arrived, I flipped open a few pages and I kept on reading. ... It’s a simple story told in a simple way, yet it touches something profound because it is about history and how no matter how remote your life may seem, you can never really escape from it. ... Stone in a Landslide is beautiful, simple and stark. Yet it is filled with warmth, the smell of grass on the mountains and the sunshine of a late afternoon. This is a book to read slowly, savouring the language and letting Conxa’s experience wash through you." Sakura Gooneratne, chasingbawa

 

"Initially I wasn’t very interested; I’m as lax as most when it comes to reading literature from other countries, and everything about this book sounded a little out of my normal field of interest. ... Reading ‘Stone in a Landslide’ bought her [my grandmother] very much to mind – I think she would have recognised Conxa; a woman who knows how to be strong, but not how to fight, and someone who’s bewilderment in being caught up in political events which mean nothing to her is palpable. For a short book it packs quite a punch emotionally." Hayley Anderton, desperate reader