Casa de campo combines the techniques of traditional novels with the 20th-century intermingling of reality and fiction. The novel's central theme of authority as figured in the discourse, its play between reality and illusion, and its dialogue with literature and society as a whole form the subject of this study. Murphy explores the illusory authority of the narrator in controlling characters' voices, and establishes a parallel with the characters' contradictory power over each other; the ploys of the narrator recall and parody the authoritarian regime which is reflected in the novel. The narrator's authority is further defined in a reading of the novel in which author, narrator, reader and character become linguistic constructs in a textual play, and meanings emerge at variance with the authorized commentary.
MARIE MURPHY is an Assistant Professor of Spanish at Loyola College in Maryland.