There is something reminiscent of Waugh’s Scoop in the way Bazán sees the almost gleeful corruption of local politics, in a population steeped in superstition, ignorance and memories of ancient grudgesOnce again, the melancholy confession that I had not heard of either this book or its author until I picked it up. But how glad I am that I did, for not only have I begun to fill the largely empty hole that is my knowledge of 19th-century Spanish authors, but I have also made the acquaintance of an absolutely first-rate novelist. The black Penguin Classics livery might, in my long-forgotten youth, have been confined to those works that various syllabuses obliged one to read; now it just means, more happily, something worth reading which you might otherwise have missed.It’s not hard to see what draws the reader into this story: we begin with a young, weedy and very unworldly priest being welcomed into a world of rude moral squalor. This is a book about bourgeois virtues, genteel civility and piety clashing with earthy robustness and the sly ways of the countryman. We know what we’re in for very early on when the priest, asking the way to the eponymous …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books