logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Spanish-literature
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
review 2018-09-01 10:12
The House of the Spirits - Isabel Allende

L'imagination populaire et l'ignorance où l'on était de sa race conférèrent à Barrabás des caractéristiques mythologiques. On racontait qu'il n'avait cessé de grandir et que si la barbarie d'un boucher n'avait mis fin à ses jours, il eût fini par atteindre la taille d'un chameau. Les gens le croyaient issu du croisement d'un chien et d'une jument, ils pensaient qu'il pouvait lui venir des ailes, des cornes, un souffle sulfureux de dragon, à l'image des bêtes que brodait Rosa sur son interminable nappe. La nounou, lassée de ramasser la porcelaine brisée et d'entendre cancaner qu'il se changeait en loup par les nuits de pleine lune, recourut au même procédé qu'avec le perroquet, mais l'overdose d'huile de foie de morue ne le tua point, tout au plus lui flanqua-t-elle une foirade de quatre jours qui recouvrit la maison de haut en bas et qu'elle duit nettoyer elle-même.

 

Elle essaya de s'infiltrer parmi les broussailles, mais le volume des deux jumeaux l'en empêcha.
"Monsieur, dit-elle au chauffeur, ayez l'obligeance de vous glisser jusque là-bas et de me ramener la tête de femme que vous allez trouver."
[...]
Clara, que les trépidations de cette course, les émotions des derniers jours et les potions du docteur avaient préparée à accoucher avec plus de facilité que dans le cas de sa première-née, serra les dents, se cramponna aux mâts d'artimon et de misaine de la frégate et entreprit de donner le jour sur la mer calmée de soie bleue à Jaime et à Nicolas, précipitamment expulsés sous le regard attentif de leur grand-mère dont les yeux toujours grands ouverts les contemplaient depuis la commode.

 

 

Personne n'était auprès d'elle, nul n'avait rien sur de son agonie et ils calculèrent qu'elle devait être morte depuis pas mal de temps car les rats avaient commencé à lui grignoter les pieds et à lui boulotter les orteils.

Parmi cette faune domestique, le seul à avoir tant soit peu marqué le souvenir de la famille fut un lapin apporté par Miguel, un pauvre lapineau tout ce qu'il y a de commun que les chiens léchaient tant et si bien que tout son pelage tomba et qu'il devint le seul spécimen glabre de son espèce, couvert d'un épiderme irisé qui lui donnait des airs de reptile à longues oreilles.

Blanca soutenait qu'il fallait doser ces lectures, car il y avait là des choses qui n'étaient pas de son âge, mais oncle Jaime estimait qu'on ne lit rien sans y porter intérêt, et que si l'on y prend intérêt, c'est qu'on est déjà en âge de le faire. Ses théories étaient les mêmes pour ce qui concernait la toilette et le manger.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-08-14 23:35
Addled Knight Goes Looking for Trouble and Finds It: "Don Quixote" by Miguel de Cervantes
Don Quixote - Roberto González Echevarría,John Rutherford,Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra


“El que lee mucho y anda mucho, ve mucho y sabe mucho.”


In "Don Quixote" by Miguel de Cervantes

 


Don Quixote is one of my favourite novels, exasperating though it is at times with all those stories within stories knockabout humour and cruel practical jokes. Simply because it’s so complex, we both admire and laugh at Don Quixote. When he speaks we are inclined to share his world view. And then Cervantes reminds us of what a ridiculous figure he is and undermines the effect. Until Quixote opens his mouth again. This happens again and again - until we end up seeing the novel - and the world - in two incompatible ways at once.

 

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2018-02-03 18:06
El Juego del Ángel (El cementerio de los libros olvidados #2) - Carlos Ruiz Zafón

- Ignatius B. Samson se ha suicidado. Ha dejado inédito un relato de veinte páginas en el que muere junto a Chloé Permanyer, abrazados ambos tras haber ingerido un veneno.
- ¿El auto muere en una de sus propias novelas? - pregunto Herminia, confundida.

Recordé entonces lo que Sempere me había dicho la primera vez que entré en su librería: que cada libro tenía una alma, el alma de quien lo había escrito y el alma de quienes lo habían leído y soñado con él.

Cada vez que un libro cambia de manos, cada vez que alguien desliza la mirada por sus páginas, su espíritu crece y se hace fuerte.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2017-07-05 11:00
A Suffocating Village: Death in Spring by Mercè Rodoreda
Death in Spring - Mercè Rodoreda,Martha Tennent

Less than a year ago I reviewed a novel by Catalan author Mercè Rodoreda (1908-1983) who is much celebrated in her country but virtually unknown elsewhere. I was so impressed by the book that I felt like reading also others of her works and from the two novels published posthumously, both of them unfinished, I eventually picked the one available in English translation, namely Death in Spring or in the original Catalan La mort i la primavera, i.e. Death and Spring. At first the title seems a bit strange, if not contradictory because it links death with nature’s rebirth after winter, but given that the novel flows over with powerful as well as poetical symbols and metaphors of life and death it’s quite appropriate. It’s a complex and well-constructed story about society that reminds me a lot of the works of Franz Kafka although it’s different in style.

 

The nameless I-narrator and protagonist makes his first appearance as a fourteen-year-old boy who enters the river passing under his mountain village built generations earlier on the debris of a huge rock-slip. He inhales the beauty of nature surrounding him and realises that he is “being followed by a bee, as well as by the stench of manure and the honey scent of blooming wisteria” representing the village with its pink houses that is always on his mind. As it turns out people there have many rituals to keep misfortune at bay. On the other side of the river is the forest of the dead with a tree dedicated to every inhabitant living or already dead with a plaque and a ring. During funerals all children are locked away into the stifling wooden kitchen cupboards, a custom that clearly mirrors the cruel death ritual practiced by the villagers for generations that requires to force pink cement down the throats of the dying in order to keep their souls from escaping and turning into shadows creeping “among the shrubs, always threatening to attack the village”. At the same time, and less obviously, it reflects the oppressive atmosphere in the village where everybody has to follow strict rules and not even the children are allowed to breathe freely in the literal as well as in the figurative sense. For being a boy the narrator doesn’t understand why the man whom he watches from behind a shrub hollows out a tree and enters it to die. As it turns out the man is his father, but instead of showing himself and talking to him, the boy returns to the village and tells the blacksmith. Everybody rushes out to give the already half-dead father the necessary cement treatment. With his teenage stepmother whom everybody considers retarded and strange he roams the village and its surroundings by night taking fun in vandalising the forest of the dead and using the pink powder of the cave to find out where its waters flow – thus defying the old village rituals that don’t make sense to them. Before long their adolescent urges take over and they have a daughter, but the community doesn’t accept them neither as individuals nor as a family because they are just too different, too free, too alive…

 

Many reviewers argue that Death in Spring represents life during the Spanish Civil War and in the rigid regime of General Franco that followed and that forced the author into exile, but in my opinion this is too limited an interpretation. I think that the author more generally portrayed the workings of human society where conservative forces use to be the stronger ones except in times of deepest discontent and misery. Even in our modern western civilisation that holds individual freedom in such high esteem, those who aren’t like all others or behave in a different, maybe even revolutionary way are marginalised, excluded and eventually crushed, i.e. driven to suicide or madness like in the novel although more subtly than in a totalitarian regime. In a nutshell: this is another great work of literature that would deserve much more attention. Highly recommended!

 

Death in Spring - Mercè Rodoreda,Martha Tennent 

 

»»» read also my review of In Diamond Square by Mercè Rodoreda.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2016-05-05 11:00
A Woman’s Misery in a Male World: The House of Ulloa by Emilia Pardo Bazán
The House of Ulloa (Penguin Classics) - Emilia Pardo Bazán,Paul O'Prey
Los Pazos De Ulloa - Emilia Pardo Bazán

As I already remarked two years ago, when I wrote a biography of Emilia Pardo Bazán (1851-1921) on my main book blog Edith’s Miscellany (»»» read her author’s portrait there), the important Spanish author unlike her male counterparts from English-speaking countries and France began to fall into oblivion rather soon after she gained considerable fame for her work. Several of her books have been translated into English. Two of them are her most famous novel The House of Ulloa from 1886, which has been reissued in English translation only in 2013, and its often overlooked sequel Mother Nature from 1887. As an example of Spanish Naturalist writing above all the first deserves a closer look.

 

The House of Ulloa is set towards the end of the reign of Spanish Queen Isabel II, more precisely just before the liberal revolution of 1868. Father Julián Alvarez enters into service with Don Pedro Moscoso who has a remote country estate in Galicia and is generally known as marquis of Ulloa although in reality the title belongs to a cousin living in Santiago. The young priest is supposed to take care of the marquis’ affairs sorting papers in the library that are in a complete mess, but to his great dismay he finds that his private life is in disorder too and the estate threatened by ruin. In fact, his employer turns out to be a man of loose morals who openly consorts with his mistress Sabel working in the kitchen and treats his illegitimate four-year-old no better than his hounds. Moreover, his daily life is filled with little more than hunting and drinking. When pious and naïve Father Julián asks Don Pedro to change his ways, he admits that he can’t because his steward Primitivo, the father of Sabel, would never allow it and has the power to turn all peasants of the region against him. Nonetheless, the priest hopes to lead his employer back on the path of virtue and suggests that he passes some time in Santiago to choose a wife from his Cousin Manuel’s daughters. Thus he marries Marcelina, called Nucha, and brings her to the house of Ulloa as his wife and new mistress of the estate, but the discreet young woman soon realises that she isn’t accepted and that her husband goes on with his life as if she weren’t there. She suffers and makes Father Julián her confidant. The priest, though, is powerless and can only watch what is going on. Meanwhile, Don Pedro gets involved into politics which at the time is inseparably linked with corruption and risks his estate…

 

In this naturalist masterpiece the nineteenth-century author Emilia Pardo Bazán skilfully interweaves the main story of predominantly male decadence and corruption in politics as well as society with a feminist critique of a patriarchal world that submits women of all classes to a sexual double standard, violence and abuse in the name of Catholic religion and often with the help of clerics. Although the novel touches very serious topics and has a not less serious plot, its tone is not only gloomy like the wintry landscape of Galicia but also full of wit and clever irony. Moreover, it’s a timeless work of literature that has lost none of its power and meaning in this modern world. In other words, The House of Ulloa is one of those almost forgotten classics that deserve being read more widely outside its country of origin Spain.

 

Nota bene:

The original Spanish versions of Emilia Pardo Bazán’s work have long entered into the public domain and many of them as well as some older translations are available for free via the Virtual Library Miguel de Cervantes, on Feedbooks, on Project Gutenberg, on Wikisource, and several other sites of the kind.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?