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His Only Son: with Doña Berta

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  24 ratings  ·  8 reviews
"One of the most celebrated writers of criticism in nineteenth-century Spain, Leopoldo Alas employed his satirical talent to powerful and humorous effect in fiction as well. In His Only Son, Bonifacio Reyes, a romantic flautist by vocation--and a failed clerk and kept husband by necessity--dreams of a novelesque life. Tied to his shrill and sickly wife by her purse ...more
ebook, 344 pages
Published October 4th 2016 by NYRB Classics (first published 1892)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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Glenn Russell
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing


Leopoldo Alas (1852-1901) - Spanish novelist, critic and short story writer, one of the most widely read and beloved authors during his own lifetime

Has anybody heard of the Spanish novelist Leopoldo Alas or his two most famous novels, The Regent’s Wife and His Only Son? I suspect not, or very few readers, even avid readers. Thank you New York Review Books (NYRB) for making this forgotten classic available along with Margaret Jull Costa’s informative Introduction providing context for Leopoldo
...more
Tony
Jan 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Emma is married, but has taken a lover. Sound familiar? The esteemed translator of this novel says in an Introduction that it’s a kind of homage. But this Emma is not like that Emma. This Emma is a tyrant and keeps her husband in a resigned domestic captivity. That would be Bonifacio, and it’s his story really.

The pair marry, through Emma’s contrivance, but she soon tires of him. She turns captious, then abusive. He takes it, mostly because like seemingly all 19th century characters he is
...more
J.M. Hushour
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Whenever he read adventure stories describing journeys to distant places, the terrible hardships endured by shipwreck victims, missionaries, explorers and so on, what he pitied most was the probable absence of any slippers."

One of NYRB's most superlative and wisest choices of publications, this long-forgotten outstanding novel, excruciating in its neglect. I can't be more hyperbolic than that. All I can say is go read this wonderful, wonderful novel, this disturbing and haunting and
...more
Stephen Durrant
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Leopoldo Alas creates in this novel an unforgettable character: Benefacio Reyes. The word that comes to mind is "feckless." Reyes particular fecklessness derives from a dreamy, talentless attachment to art and a complete inability to engage realities other than those that reinforce his romantic and sensual inclinations. And he is married to a monster, another unforgettable character named, yes, "Emma," who is selfish, a hypochondriac, and obsessed that no one is sufficiently devoted to her to ...more
Ian
Jan 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a well written, charming, but ultimately inconsequential novel of provincial Spain in the second half of 19th Century. I didn't perceive any depth beyond the mere story-telling. By comparison to classic literature of the period (Eliot, Dickens, Dostoevsky, Zola, Flaubert) there's no real psychology. The "hero" of the book is a buffoon, married to a wealthy heiress who only married him for his looks and then bored of him. Why the characters act as they do is never really delved into, and ...more
Donald
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An absolute pleasure.
Kobe Bryant
Nov 30, 2016 rated it liked it
I enjoyed Bonifacios and Emmas many moods and emotions.
Melissa
Oct 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss.

Bonifacio Reyes has spent his whole life carrying out the commands that others have bestowed on him. When he is a young man he is coaxed into eloping with Emma Valcárcel , the spoiled only child of Don Diego Valcárcel, a prominent lawyer in what Alas describes as a “third-rate provincial capital.” When the couple’s plans are thwarted and they are captured , Emma is confined to a convent and Bonifacio is banished to Mexico where he will live a
...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: His Only Son original publish year 6 16 Jan 02, 2019 01:32PM  
NYRB Classics: His Only Son: with Doña Berta, by Leopoldo Alas 3 31 May 26, 2016 12:26PM  

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Leopoldo García-Alas y Ureña (25 April 1852 – 13 June 1901), also known as Clarín, was a Spanish realist novelist born in Zamora. He died in Oviedo.

Alas spent his childhood living in León and Guadalajara, until he moved to Oviedo in 1863. There he studied for the Bachillerato (B.A. degree) and began his law studies. He lived in Madrid from 1871 to 1878, where he began his career as a journalist
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