Synopses & Reviews
The Family of Pascual Duarte
is the story of Pascual Duarte--a Spanish peasant born into a brutal world of poverty, hatred, and depravity--as told from his prison cell, where he awaits execution for the murders he's committed throughout his lifetime. Despite his savage and cruel impulses, Pascual retains a childlike sense of the world and a groping desire to understand the blows of fate that led him down his bloody path.
Originally published in the same year as Camus's The Stranger--to which it has been compared--The Family of Pascual Duarte is closer in tone to the works of Curzio Malaparte and Louis-Ferdinand Céline.
"A most memorable book . . . The Family of Pascual Duarte sets its author in place as a contemporary of Celine and Malaparte and a follower of the Spanish picaresque tradition." The New York Times Book Review
"Cela prefers the weird, the apparently meaningless and amorphous. The world of his novels has been likened to that of Hieronymus Bosch and Brueghel; he sees man as a prisoner in a forbidding universe where chaos and imperfection always defeat the idealist." Paul West
"Most books have to wait to become classics; but everything about The Family of Pascual Duarte--its conception, its starkness, its restraint, the enormity of its theme--made it from the very beginning a classic." Alastair Reid
This book reflects the crude reality of rural Spain in Franco's time. It is full of human power and rich in social insight. Cela writes with great detail, but still maintains simplicity.
"After Don Quixote, probably the most widely read novel in Spanish."--The New York Times
"After , probably the most widely read novel in Spanish."--
About the Author
Camilo José Cela, winner of the 1989 Nobel Prize for Literature, was born in 1916 in Galicia in a family with aristocratic roots. His father was a Spaniard, his mother of English birth but also with some Italian blood. His medical studies were interrupted due to the civil war, after which he returned to Madrid to study law. In 1942, he published the novel that made his name, La familia de Pascual Duarte. Since then he has devoted himself entirely to literature. He lived on Mallorca for decades, starting in 1954. In 1956 and until 1979, he published the magazine, Papeles de Son Armadans in which, during the Franco era, he could give space to the young opposition. He died in 2001.Anthony Kerrigan is a poet and translator of works by Spanish and Latin American writers. His credits include several works by Jorge Luis Borges and Miguel de Unamuno, as well as Pablo Neruda's Selected Poems and Camilo Jose Cela's Family of Pascual Duarte.