A first novel which displays a certain virtuosity, an almost exasperating concentration on the subtler reflexes in human relationships, and the artifice of anonymity of time and place and character. This follows the deliberate, devastating progress of the widow (as she is known) as she determines to ruin the lover (for whom she writes this record)- a younger man to whom marriage would be impossible. Resenting his friendship with a young man (here known as the ""stooge""), she selects a young woman (ibid- the ""novia"") for him to marry. Thereby she will offset his friend's attentions and set off her own attractions to greater advantage- since the girls she has selected is quite plain. And by the close, through a series of disasters to her lover- circumstantial and contrived- she drives him to suicide, but finds that in so doing she has also destroyed her own youth. For all its venom, and its irony, this is still a rather arid anatomy of passions which are intellectualized and attenuated.