cover image Fog


Miguel de Unamuno, trans. from the Spanish by Elena Barcia. Northwestern Univ., $19.95 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-0-8101-3536-9

Unamuno’s metafictional tale of the unfortunate Augusto Pérez, a philosophical tragicomedy originally published in 1914, predates much other fiction of its kind. Augusto is a wealthy, lonely man still adjusting to his life after his beloved mother’s recent death. He becomes obsessed with Eugenia, a beautiful woman he sees in passing, and now feels like his life finally has a purpose. He makes his intentions known to her through a letter and learns that she is already involved with another man, Mauricio. Meanwhile, Augusto finds and adopts a stray dog who becomes his confidant, Eugenia’s aunt and uncle scheme to facilitate the match between her and Augusto, and Eugenia and Mauricio begin to hatch a scheme of their own to use Augusto for their gain. Augusto’s personal crisis escalates to the point where he eventually confronts Unamuno himself, resulting in a brand-new existential dilemma both hilarious and engrossing. This nimbly constructed metanarrative features buoyant prose and surprising tenderness, leading the reader to unexpected places. (Aug.)