This article suggests that over recent decades Catalan literary criticism has paid too little attention to the aesthetic attributes of Catalan literature and emphasised the social, political and cultural at the expense of discussions of narrative poetics. Through an analysis of Montserrat Roig’s metaphorical use of the city in her first novel Ramona, adéu, I put forward the view that the aesthetic features of Catalan literature need to be re-claimed. This article provides a critical analysis of the aesthetic importance of Roig’s representation of the city in her first novel and argues that she uses Barcelona as a critical tool through which to explore questions of both female emancipation and aesthetic freedom. Following a detailed discussion of Roig’s descriptions of how her female characters interact with particular urban spaces, I examine how Roig makes subtle shifts in her semantic register during these narrative accounts when her prose moves into the realm of the poetic. I conclude that this technique enables us to read her accounts of urban space as metaphors for aesthetic freedom and are inextricably linked to her wider concerns on the importance of liberating Catalan literature from the discourse of political nationalism.