OLIMPIA by Burt Cole


Email this review


Set in Cataluna on Spain's Mediterranean coast, this brief novel in the picaresque tradition records the rise, decline and fall of an adventuress who was undone by her own extraordinary weapons. Olimpia Reig epitomized the best and worst of Catalan peculiarities: ""a woman of great will and resolution with the minimum of sentimentality...since childhood she had been a citadel of pragmatism and disenchantment"". Olimpia had been the professional mistress of several different kinds of men and had emerged from each encounter ruthlessly invulnerable and enriched. In the fulfillment of a wager with the philosophically detached narrator of the story, Juan Jacinto, at 23 an accomplished roue, succeeded both in seducing and swindling the remote and inaccessible Olimpia. She was a victim of what the narrator calls, avoiding the word ""love"", ""a special quality of enthusiasm"", the uses of which she well knew and could recognize but not alter in her own case. Curiously interesting.

Pub Date: June 16th, 1959
Publisher: Macmillan