Alasse's Reviews > Misericordia

Misericordia by Benito Pérez Galdós
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Feb 07, 11

bookshelves: 1001-books
Read from January 25 to February 06, 2011

For those of you who don't know it, Benito Pérez Galdós was possibly the most important novelist of the Realism in Spain - he's our very own Gustave Flaubert. You probably don't know this, because he very nearly received the Nobel prize, but ultimately didn't. Something to do with politics.

At any rate, some of his best novels draw a very interesting outline of the lives of the middle and lower classes in 19th century Madrid. This is one of them.

The story revolves around Benina, the old servant of an Andalusian lady who now lives on the verge of poverty. Benina loves her dearly, and uses every resource she has to make sure that she gets something to eat at the end of the day. To this purpose she walks up and down the poorest neighborhoods in Madrid, where her path crosses with a great variety of characters - many of which she ends up helping as well, with what little she has to offer.

Mind you, Benina's not a classical heroine. She doesn't practice charity in the name of religion, or pities herself for her misfortunes. She's a brave woman with a great sense of humor, and she does what she does because she's strong and street-smart, and somebody's got to take care of these poor bastards right?

Galdós was famous for having a special sensitivity for popular language, which was his strongest descriptive tool. This is specially true in this particular case. Benina talks in a very characteristic way - fast and amusing and so very local. It makes this book taste of Madrid, which I guess is the whole point of a Realist novel. 5/5.
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Reading Progress

02/02/2011 "I was at the library today reading this, and there was a high-schooler sitting next to me studying, you guessed it, Galdos's work. Misericordia was underlined. I thought it was kinda cool, which I guess shows how bored I am these days."
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Meghan (new)

Meghan Excellent review! Makes me want to go to Madrid.


Alasse Okaaaay... but you'll have to make do with Tia Maria!


message 3: by Meghan (new)

Meghan Well, Flaubert made me want to go to France to see what it was all about. So based on what you said, I kind of want to see this Madrid of yours.


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