- Hebrew: Xargol
- Italian: Sellerio
- Previously published in: Portuguese (Bico da Pena, Portugal; Ediouro (Bico da Pena, Portugal; Ediouro, Brazil)
Una habitación ajena / A Separate Room
Novel , 1997
Lumen’s Women’s Award, 1997
Ostia Mare Award, 2004
There is no doubt that when she wrote her famous essay A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf considered it essential to have the independence of a room of one’s own. However Nelly Boxall also fought for the same goal. For almost twenty years, Nelly worked as a cook and maid in the home of the Woolfs. From 1916 to 1934, as well as cooking for Virginia Woolf and her husband, she prepared teas and dinners for members of the Bloomsbury group and other friends of the Woolfs.
But beyond the domestic gossip of the writer’s circle, the continuous contact with the advanced ideas and social customs of this group of artists and intellectuals brought Nelly, as well as some advantages, a large number of problems.
Using a mixture of imagination and biographical reconstruction based on the writings of Virginia Woolf, Alicia Giménez Bartlett recreates the unusual, contradictory relationship that existed between the two women. And, from here, she explores the extreme difficulties that arise when reconciling the defence of the right of women to have their own space with the conditions of domestic service itself, attempting to reconcile intellectual progress with social reality.