Dwight's Reviews > Weeds

Weeds by Pío Baroja
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's review
Mar 05, 10

Read in March, 2010


Weeds came out in 1904 shortly after The Quest was released. We find many of the same characters from the initial volume of The Struggle for Life trilogy struggling for survival in turn-of-the-century Madrid. Baroja's colorful characters, whether central or peripheral, spice up his work. He often introduces them with a minimum of description but they are able to leap off the page. The Quest ended on a hopeful note as Manuel decides he should live with the working class in the sun and not with the shadowy figures haunting Madrid at night. Alas, not only is this easier said than done, Manuel lacks a will of his own. His inability to follow through on productive ideas results mostly from his nature but it doesn’t help that the cards are stacked against him. Baroja accentuates the deprivation of the lower classes in both The Quest and Weeds, but the reader is given a view additional layers of society in this volume. In The Quest discussion I mentioned Manuel was more a spectator of life than a participant, but part of that was due to his age. The first volume of the trilogy takes Manuel up to the age of seventeen. Weeds covers parts of his life from age seventeen to twenty-one as Manuel tries to figure out his place in a sordid and vicious world. Because each of the three parts of the book have a distinctive flavor (as did each part in The Quest, something I falied to mention), I think a synopsis of each section along with some extended quotes offers a good introduction to the work.

(see link for extended review)

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