The Golden Fountain Cafe: A Historic Novel of the Xixth Century = La Fontana de Oro

Benito Perez Galdos, Author Latin American Literary Review Press $18 (350p) ISBN 978-0-935480-36-8
This lengthy first novel, written in 1870 when the author, the ``Spanish Balzac,'' was 27 years old, now seems excessively contrived; nevertheless, as meticulously translated into English for the first time and annotated by a leading Galdos scholar, it exhibits themes and flashes of genius that would later earn Galdos his reputation. The time is the early 1820s, a revolutionary period in Spain's history when King Fernando VII was scheming to undermine the constitution, and crowds heatedly discussed the day's political issues in cafes like The Golden Fountain. One of Fernando's supporters is Elias, an elderly royalist, plotting to infiltrate and subvert the populist gatherings at The Golden Fountain. Elias has raised a young orphan, Clara, who, as a beautiful, unworldly teenager, falls in love with Elias's nephew, Lazaro, a staunch liberal loathed by his uncle. Lazaro learns of Elias's plan to have a group of prominent liberals--including his rival for Clara's affections--murdered; after struggling with his emotions, Lazaro does his duty and saves his rival. Elias is then disgraced, and the two lovers wed. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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