His Only Son: With Dona Berta by Leopoldo AlasHis Only Son: With Dona Berta by Leopoldo Alas

His Only Son: With Dona Berta

byLeopoldo AlasTranslated byMargaret Jull Costa

Paperback | October 4, 2016

Pricing and Purchase Info

$23.95

Earn 120 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store

Quantity:

Ships within 1-2 weeks

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores

about

The unlikely hero of His Only Son, Bonifacio Reyes, is a romantic and a flautist by vocation—and a failed clerk and kept husband by necessity—who dreams of a novelesque life. Tied to his shrill and sickly wife by her purse strings, he enters timidly into a love affair with Serafina, a seductive second-rate opera singer, encouraged by her manager who mistakes Bonifacio for a potential patron. Meanwhile, Bonifacio’s wife experiences a parallel awakening and in the midst of a long-barren marriage, surprises them both with a son—but is it Bonifacio’s? In the accompanying novella, Doña Berta, the heroine of the title, an aged, poor, but well-born woman, forfeits her beloved estate in search of a portrait that may be all that remains of the secret love of her life.

While largely unknown outside of Spain, Leopoldo Alas was one of the most celebrated writers of criticism in nineteenth-century Spain and employed his satirical talents to powerful and humorous effect in fiction. His Only Son was Alas’s second and final novel, full of characteristic humor, naturalistic detail, descriptive beauty, and moral complexity. His frail and pitiful characters—irrational, emotional actors drawn inexorably toward their foolish fates—are yet multidimensional individuals, often conscious of their own weaknesses and stymied by their very yearnings to be more than the parts they find themselves playing.
Leopoldo Alas (1852–1901) was the son of a government official, born in Zamora, Spain. He attended the University of Oviedo and the University of Madrid, receiving a doctorate in law. A novelist and writer of short stories who adopted the pseudonym Clarín (Bugle), Alas was one of Spain’s most influential literary critics. He became...
Loading
Title:His Only Son: With Dona BertaFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:336 pages, 8 × 5 × 0.7 inShipping dimensions:8 × 5 × 0.7 inPublished:October 4, 2016Publisher:New York Review BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1681370182

ISBN - 13:9781681370187

Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“His Only Son is the most intense, the most refined, the most intellectual, and the most sensual novel that nineteenth-century Spanish literature has produced.” —Azorín“When I read His Only Son and Doña Berta, I was bowled over by the audacity of the plots, by the diverse cast of characters, and by Alas’s ability to be entirely engagedby his characters.” —Margaret Jull costa, from the introduction“A delight to read.” —A Common Reader blog   “A Flaubert-type novel [that] displays the author’s power of psychological analysis.” —Harvey L. Johnson, The South Central Bulletin