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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
For those of you who don't know it, Benito Pérez Galdós was possibly the most important novelist of the Realism in Spain - he's our very own Gustave Flaubert. You probably don't know this, because he very nearly received the Nobel prize, but ultimately didn't. Something to do with politics. At any rate, some of his best novels draw a very interesting outline of the lives of the middle and lower classes in 19th century Madrid. This is one of them. The story revolves around Benina, the old servant of an Andalusian lady who now lives on the verge of poverty. Benina loves her dearly, and uses every resource she has to make sure that she gets something to eat at the end of the day. To this purpose she walks up and down the poorest neighborhoods in Madrid, where her path crosses with a great variety of characters - many of which she ends up helping as well, with what little she has to offer. Mind you, Benina's not a classical heroine. She doesn't practice charity in the name of religion, or pities herself for her misfortunes. She's a brave woman with a great sense of humor, and she does what she does because she's strong and street-smart, and somebody's got to take care of these poor bastards right? Galdós was famous for having a special sensitivity for popular language, which was his strongest descriptive tool. This is specially true in this particular case. Benina talks in a very characteristic way - fast and amusing and so very local. It makes this book taste of Madrid, which I guess is the whole point of a Realist novel. 5/5.
Review: MisericordiaUser Review - Goodreads