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About the Author: Ana María Matute

Matute was born in Barcelona, Spain, the second of five children in a conservative middle class family. Her father, Facundo Matute, owned an umbrella factory and has been credited with inspiring his daughter's creativity. Matute spent a considerable amount of time in Madrid during her childhood as well, but few of her stories are set there.
When she was four years old, she almost died of an illness, and was taken to live with her grandparents in San Mansilla de la Sierra, a small town in the mountains, for a period of convalescence. Matute says that she was profoundly influenced by the villagers whom she met during her time there. This influence can be seen in such works as those published in the 1961 anthology Historias de la Artamila ("Stories about the Artamila", all of which deal with the people that Matute met during her recovery). Settings reminiscent of that town are also often used as settings for her other work.
She was almost ten years old when the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, and this conflict is said to have had the greatest impact on Matute's writing. She considered not only "the battles between the two factions, but also the internal aggression within each one" The war resulted in Francisco Franco's rise to power, starting in 1936 and escalating until 1939, when he took control of the entire country. Franco established a dictatorship which lasted thirty-six years, until his death in 1975. The violence brought on by the war continued through much of his reign. Since Matute matured as a writer in this posguerra period under Franco's oppressive regime, some of the most recurrent themes in her works are violence, alienation, misery, and especially the loss of innocence.
She married Ramón Eugenio de Goicoechea, also a writer, on 17 November 1952, and the couple had a son, Juan Pablo, to whom Matute dedicated various children's stories. The couple divorced in 1965. Because of the laws of Spain, following her divorce she was not allowed to see her son, as the law gave full care over to her ex-husband. This caused Matute great emotional distress. However, she refused to use this as material for any of her stories.

During her last years, before being very ill, Matute worked as university professor. She traveled in various countries, especially the United States, as a lecturer. She was outspoken about subjects such as the benefits of emotional suffering, the constant changing of a human being, and how innocence is never completely lost. She claimed that, although her body was old, she was young at heart.

In the year 1998, she was elected as a member of the Real Academia Española, becoming the third woman that could take part in the spanish language academia. Her academic life also led her to be an honorific member in the Hispanic Society of America and, in the year 2013, to be a juror in the Miguel de Cervantes Prize, the most important in spanish language.

Other books by Ana María Matute

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Goodreads rating: 3.67

Paperback, by Latin American Literary Review Press

ISBN10: 0935480676 | ISBN13: 9780935480672

Page count: 158

In Soldiers Cry by Night, 1964, the second volume of The Merchants (1959-1969), an award-winning trilogy about the Spanish Civil War, Ana María Matute uses a realistic setting and autobiographical detail to depict triumph and loss. Manuel and Marta are forced to accept the end of their innocent childhood happiness, and must come to terms with the allegiances and betrayals of the harsh adult world. During the Facist attack on Barcelona the two young people are forced to choose sides. Their decisions will forever change their lives.

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