Miguel Delibes

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Miguel Delibes (1920)

"La Sombra del Cipres es Alargada" (1947)

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"El Camino/ The Path" (1950) is mainly a vivid portrayal of rural life, with little or no plot.

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"Diario de un Cazador" (1955)

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"Las Ratas" (1962) +

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"Cinco Horas con Mario/ Five Hours with Mario " (1966) is a monologue and dialogue that takes place in one night. The speaker is a woman who just lost her husband. She is talking to the dead man and is really talking to herself, reminiscing about their past and the way she was treated. The monologue is crafted in a colloquial speech, rich with idiomatic expressions and proverbs. Each chapter incrementally refines our view of their marriage until we realize that this is really the story of an almost adultery and of the remorse that is devouring the profoundly Catholic quasi-adulterer. She correctly feels maginalized from her children's lives: their father's liberal attitudes have turned them into rebels of one sort or another, whose values sharply conflict with the traditional ones that she is imbued with.

The 49-years-old teacher Mario has suddenly died and people are coming to pay their tribute to him. Carmen welcomes the visitors and watches over his body. One of his sons is happy because he doesn't have to go to school and jokes that he wishes his father died every day. Carmen discusses with her friend Valentina the moment she found him dead in bed, victim of a heart attack, while she is kissing all the friends and relatives who come to pay tribute to the corpse. Mario was an intellectual, who liked to annotate the Bible. Alone, Carmen picks up the Bible and reads the passages that Mario underlined. Each passage leads to a chain of memories and thoughts. She mostly complains about how he treated her. He treated her like a slave, never thanking her for all the household work that she did, and never helping her with the children. She never got a car from him. She was jealous of his widowed sister-in-law, Encarna, who was married to Mario's brother Elviro. He wasted his life with books and his newspaper. She pokes fun at his novels with cryptic plots. He got no money and no fame out of them. She lived in poverty, raising five children, and he never got the money to buy her a car. She dislikes his friend Nicolas, a communist. Carmen is bitter that Mario never read his poems to her. She suspects that they were written to other women, perhaps to Encarna. She laments that she spent 23 years looking after him, having met him when she was 17 years old. She discusses their son Mario, educated but rebellious, now 22 years old, an intellectual who spends allhis time "reading and thinking", left-leaning like much of the youth. She confesses that a man named Eliseo courted her, and that she had a crush for her future brother-in-law Jose Maria before she met Mario, and that Gabriel and Evaristo, two old artists, tried to seduce her (Carmen) and her childhood friend Transi, and Transi eventually accepted to be painted by Evaristo. When she fell in love with Mario, Carmen's parents were hesitant to approve because his father was a moneylender and his family had left-leaning political views. They approved because Mario was already a high-school teacher with a safe career ahead of him. Within two days, just before the wedding of Mario and Carmen, both of Mario's brothers were killed for being "reds". The stream of consciousness hops from person to person, from event to event, fragmented and incoherent. She makes a reference to a party thrown by Valentina during which Mario got drunk and perhaps flirted with Valentina. She makes references to a scandal caused by her sister Julia with an Italian soldier named Galli (Julia got pregnant and had to leave town and now lives in the capital with her son).
Carmen candidly confesses that she had a good time during the civil war. Her family was on the side of the fascists, who eventually won. Carmen is upset that Mario encouraged their daughter Manchu to study and the girl is now preparing for the examination to be admitted to college. Carmen thinks that women should be housewives, not students. She is also worried that their older son Mario is always immersed in books, which she views as a sign of instability. She thinks it is no wonder that their six years old son Borja said he wished his dad died every day. That is what education does to people. She remembers how her mom used to scorn books as something useful only for practicing to walk erect by keeping them on your head. Carmen looks down on foreign countries where girls work. She regrets that her husband befriended the intellectual Don Nicolas. She was horrified that Mario seemed to tolerate Protestants and even Jews. Her thoughts keep going back to the last party, at Valentina's place, where Mario drank too much. Her best friend Valentina is beautiful and rich. Her husband Vicente was lucky. Carmen remembers how Galli was driving aound in his Fiat convertible. Her sister Transi had a crush for him. Her fascist father liked him but resented his excessive orthodoxy. And this memory brings back her main complaint towards her husband, that he never bought her a car. Mario once complained with Josechu, who was in charge of counting the votes in a fake election and declared the fascists winners by a huge percentage. She still resents the way she treated her on their wedding night, total indifference, and she was a virgin who didn't quite know how babies were born. And she still resents that Mario gave money to Encarna. Eliseo, Evaristo, Paco... she keeps thinking of all the men who flirted with her... she her chances to cheat on Mario, but she stuck witb penniless idealist Mario. Originally, Carmen picked Mario because she felt sorry for this sad boy. Her parents agreed only because of the scandal that her sister just got into. She confesses that Paco gave her two rides in his car. She is living during the time that pope John XXIII has launched a major council to open up the Catholic church and she doesn't agree. She thinks that the world actually needs a little bit of Inquisition. She resents that Mario always undermined her authority in front of their five children: Mario, Menchu, Alvaro, Borja and Aran. Mario's sister Charo was briefly in a convent. Mario once had an argument with a police officer who hit him. The incident cost him an apartment that he was in line to get from the very Josechu whom he kept fighting. Carmen does not understand Mario's sense of justice. Her father even tried to annul Galli's first marriage, but then one day Galli disappeared. When her mother died, her father went to live with her sister and her illegitimate child, Costantino. Mario even turned down a political appointment from the people whom he had offended and who were trying to make peace with him. Only her friend Esther likes Mario's books. To Carmen he wasted his life: he did everything except earn money. A few days before dying Mario himself told Carmen that he felt alone. He had argued with everybody, supported only by the co-conspirators of his newspaper. And now he was alone. She complains that she worked herself to death in the house with little or no appreciation from him while he was working on his novels about weird characters and with weird titles that nobody but her friend Esther understood. Carmen now confesses that she was a little jealous of Esther, the only one who had a university degree. Better to be raped a 1000 times than to be treated like he treated her the first night: total indifference. But now she also tells us that he was sobbing at night, that be was afraid. He lived his life in constant terror, always depressed, even considering suicide. Julia has now lived alone for seven years in the capital. She rents rooms to students, notably students from the USA. One of them was a black man and her father asked for higher rent even after telling everybody that all men are equal. She comments that blacks should live with blacks and compares them with dogs. Again she complains that he lost their chance to get a nice six-room apartment because of his ridiculous attempt to get justice against the police officer who hit him while he was biking in the park. Elviro told her that Mario wrote poetry and in particukar a poem about her eyes but she never heard that poem. Evaristo left Transi after five years of marriage and three children. This comes out when Carmen finally tells the truth about Paco. Paco gave her a ride, kissed her and they almost had sex. She admits that it was him, not her, to stop. And this becomes a confession. Paco had wanted her for 25 years. Now she wanted him too. She begs Mario to forgive her and almost goes crazy talking to a dead man as if he were alive, begging for forgiveness on her knees. This is where Carmen's long soliloquy ends. Her son Mario interrupts her and leads her to another room. Mario the young calls himself a philosopher and talks of new ideas that terrify her. Finally it is time for the funeral to begin. Both the fascists and the leftists are in the room and two of them almost start a fight, one praising Mario as a man of integrity and the other one calling him a hypocrite.

"Parabola del Naufrago" (196() +

synopsis forthcoming

"Los Santos Inocentes" (1981)

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"El Disputado Voto del Senor Cayo" (1987)

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