Tristana

Benito Pérez Galdós, trans. from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa. New York Review Books, $16.95 trade paper (184p) ISBN 978-1-59017-765-5
Readers both new to this haunting tale and those already familiar with the exquisite 1970 Luis Buñuel film adaptation (starring Catherine Deneuve) should rejoice at the arrival of this brilliant new translation of a mesmerizing novel from Galdós, who is often considered the greatest Spanish writer after Cervantes. After a painfully sheltered childhood and the death of both of her parents, Tristana is taken in by the aging Don Lope, who, in his constant, if misguided, quest for “honor,” has paid off Tristana’s father’s enormous debts and promised her dying mother to look after the young, fragile woman. Though the town presumes them as kin, “after only two months, he had added her to his very long list of victories over innocence.” Don Lope keeps the girl like a prisoner, establishing his dominance by proclaiming, “I regard you as both wife and daughter, as it suits me.” But, before long, the housekeeper Saturna takes pity on Tristana and begins taking her out for surreptitious walks around Madrid. On such an outing, Tristana meets Horacio, a young painter, and the two fall instantly, madly in love; they later swap letters and swear eternal devotion to each another. Intense passion and the impossibility of their relationship fill most of the book, bringing to light Tristana’s somewhat revolutionary opinions on marriage, independence, and the oppression of women. When fate hands Tristana yet another disastrous turn of events, however, her expectations for both men leads to a heartbreaking fate. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/25/2014
Release date: 11/04/2014
Open Ebook - 154 pages - 978-84-9897-635-9
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