This new translation of Spanish novelist Perez Galdos's 19th century tale depicting society during the Alfonsine restoration of 1875, a masterpiece patterned on Balzac and Dickens, provides a read that is startlingly fresh and immediate. Fortunata, a glorious woman of the people, struggles all her life against the angelic, bourgeois Jacinta; both adore Jacinta's charming, selfish husband, the sybarite Juanito. Perez Galdos (18431920) steeps his story in scenes of working- and middle-class Madrid that are panoramic and intimate: the streets and reeking tenements, shops and stalls that open like mouths, the fashion trades, cafes where idlers thrash out politics, the pharmacy where Fortunata's sickly husband Maxi goes mad with jealousy, the convent in which the passionate Fortunata is locked to repent her promiscuity, the twin beds where Juanito caresses Jacinta with lies. Gentle Jacinta buying a baby she thinks is Fortunata's is just one of the novel's shrewd, unforgettable characterizations that reveal the commercial nexus and often animal thirst for power infecting the populous Perez Galdos world. A vast, savory novel in the great tradition, this is not to be missed. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1986 Release date: 07/01/1986 Genre:
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