Family of Pascual Duarte

( 1 )

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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.

Dalkey Archive Press

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Editorial Reviews

Paul West
“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.”
Alastair Reid
“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.”
The New York Times Book Review
“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.”
From the Publisher

"After Don Quixote, probably the most widely read novel in Spanish." -- The New York Times

Dalkey Archive Press

Library Journal
Nobel laureate Cela's 1942 novel unfurls with Duarte telling his miserable life story from his prison cell, where he waits execution for a series of murders. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781564783592
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2004
  • Series: Spanish Literature Series
  • Pages: 166
  • Sales rank: 403,821
  • Lexile: 1160L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet 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.

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Table of Contents

Pascual Duarte grew up in a brutal world of poverty, hatred, and depravity, which turned his life into and unrelenting nightmare. This novel consists of Duarte's public confessions, written from his prison cell where he awaits execution for the series of murders he's committed. In depicting the horrors of his life - including details about his despicable mother, his unfaithful wife, and his savage crimes - Duarte writes with a childlike sense of the world, portraying himself as a man deformed by the cruel hand of fatal that led him down a bloody path.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 12, 2009

    Insight into Devastation

    The Family of Pascual Duarte by Nobelist Camilo Jose Cela has been compared to Albert Camus' The Stranger. Except for the fact that the protagonists in both works await execution, the comparison is faulty. Camus examines a seemingly senseless killing (that might actually be a justified homicide). Cela, however, explores the mind and life of a man who committed crimes he acknowledges, and for which he tries to provide answers to that unfathomable abyss of murder -- why?
    On the surface, these could be crimes of passion. One is definitely a misguided defense of honor; another the belated revenge for having been cuckoled; the third, retribution for a lifetime of rejection. Yet, in too many instances, Duarte is able to control his passions, and even to channel them into positive and pure love. So, a simple reference to passion is not enough.
    Perhaps these are offenses made inevitable by the circumstances and environment of Duarte's life? Yet, throughout the work it is clear that Duarte does not like the life dealt to him, and it is clear that he wishes to escape its tentacles. Indeed, his love of two different wives demonstrates his ability to do so. His life history, saved in scraps of paper delivered to the narrator, demonstrate this desire to escape his fate while detailing his inability to do so.
    I have represented men on death row, and I have shared conversations with them about life, about their lives, and about their childhoods. Too many times I saw the devastation and confusion that Cela exhibits in Duarte's words. But, too seldom did I find the insight that Duarte brings to the reader.
    This work is phenomenal; it is also extremely disturbing. It is a book that compels the reader to complete it, but to do so while fighting against a current that pulls one's existence into Duarte's devastation. At the conclusion, the reader will say with honesty, "I am glad I read it; I want my friends to read it; but, I hope that I never have to read or experience it again."

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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