Email this review


The with-it married set of contemporary Barcelona, lagging scarcely behind their London and New York counterparts in fashionable foolishness, are the targets of Donoso's withering satire in these three interrelated novellas. The first and longest, ""Chattanooga Choo-Choo,"" portrays wives for whom women's liberation is one more cosmetic to add to an already fantastic array. They call one another ""ballsy"" and are not above applying vanishing cream to men's privates. The novella lacks a certain artistic cohesiveness, but Donoso gets into his stride with the second tale, ""Green Atom Number Five,"" about a couple, madly in love with their ""perfect"" apartment, who come apart when, one by one, people walk off with their most prized possessions. The third tale, ""Gaspard de la Nuit,"" gathers in considerable emotion when one of these fashionable women is visited by her adolescent son, who has been brought up by her ex-husband. The strange youth is in command of a splendid and frightening loneliness and relates to the world only through the music he constantly whistles. He is not, obviously, the teenager his shallow mother had hoped to show around Barcelona. It's a sad, eerie, funny morality--the best of an arresting trio.

Pub Date: June 3rd, 1977
Publisher: Knopf