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Cinco horas con Mario by Miguel Delibes (1966)



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Madrid in the sixties. A woman loses absolutely unexpected her husband. In the long leave with the corpse in front of her the night before the funeral, she recalls the trajectory of their collective life, marked by the absence of communication and the conditions of Franco’s dictatorship.
  hbergander | Dec 12, 2011 |
Set in Spain towards the end of the Franco dictatorship the story begins as Mario has just died of a heart attack (March 24, 1966--age 49) and people have been coming to his home to offer condolences to his widow Carmen. At the end of the night when the guests have all left Carmen decides to stay up all night with the deceased--to argue with the body of her dead husband in exasperated tones as Mario in her eyes has been a failure--has sold himself short by not taking advantage of opportunities that have come his way during his lifetime, by maintaining friendships with the wrong people, by being politically active against the Franco dictatorship, by not automatically hating prostestants and foreigners and for never having owned a car besides which Mario (a teacher) has written a numbers of novels that have gone nowhere because they tend to be critical of the regime and bad things tend to happen in them. Carmen--to use a couple lines from the book blurb--thinks 'the civil war years were the best of her life, with "everybody sort of on vacation, the streets full of boys, and all that commotion." She scoffs at a university education for her own daughter believing that attending college "isn't feminine." Carmen in other words knows her place in a stifling bourgeois society and is something of a bigot. As a simple outline this isn't bad but for all that Delibes isn't just content to use Carmen as an example of the hypocritical society she springs from--he is very much intent on showing her in a sympathetic light--she is very human and reflective of humanity as a whole. Mario's death to her is a blow--and she suffers from her own guilt about her own life which she can barely admit to herself but finally does in the books' final pages. A very moving and fluid book with touches of comedy. Delibes is a fine writer with an acute social sense. This is an excellent work at least in my opinion. ( )
  lriley | Aug 23, 2006 |
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Don Mario Díez Collado,

die gesterkt door de Heilige Sacramenten
overleden is op 24 maart 1966
in de leeftijd van 49 jaar
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