DOÑA INÉS VS. OBLIVION by Ana Teresa Torres


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Do§a InÇs Vs. Oblivion ($27.50; Oct. 26; 243 pp.; 0-8071-2476-1) An accomplished 1992 novel, which won the 1998 Pegasus Prize, surveys Venezuela’s modern history through the combative lament of —a crazy old aristocratic woman, . . . lost in her memoirs, . . . shouting for her slave women and her children, who—d already forgotten her.— The eponymous Do§a InÇs’s heated monologue excoriates such real watershed events as Sim¢n Bol°var’s revolution and R¢mulo Betancourt’s attempts to establish democracy, while she simultaneously vilifies the freed former servant who sues for ownership of her land (the story features a Dickensian court case that drags on for generations) and her late husband Alejandro, whose death has left her alone to confront the tide of revolution and social change. What distinguishes Torres’s energetic tragicomedy from dozens of other magical-realist Latin American novels is its focus on the embattled relationships among classes and between masters and servants. Do§a InÇs is both a retrograde tyrant and ferocious force of nature, and Torres has brought her to life (-in-death) with stunning success.

Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 1999
ISBN: 0-8071-2476-1
Page count: 243pp
Publisher: Louisiana State Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1999


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