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Nazarín by Benito Pérez Galdós

Nazarín (1895)

by Benito Pérez Galdós

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Nazarín was the first book that I read by Benito Pérez Galdós, and was a good introduction to the author. I like reading new authors beginning with lesser works rather than their biggest successes, as a way of introducing myself to the author before tackling the books that they are best known for. I thought Nazarín was beautifully written, and there were passages that really moved me, especially the moments shared between Padre Nazario (also known as Nazarín) and the two women who accompany him in his peregrinations, Beatriz and Ándara. I read this book because I wanted to read a more traditional narrative after the conversational stream-of-consciousness style of Tres Tristes Tigres. As I was reading this book, I thought about Don Quijote, and compared the Nazarín to him as I read the wanderings of the catholic father that make up the plot of this book. Apparently a better person to have in mind would have been Jesus, based on what I read about Nazarín on the internet after I finished. I think I need to read the Bible so that I can make the connections between religion and literature, especially when they are as obvious as they are here. Nonetheless, it´s interesting to think how much Don Quijote himself must be based on Jesus.
I thought Nazarín was an excellent introduction to 19th Century Spanish narrative, and I want to read more books by Pérez Galdós. I think he might be comparable to Dickens in his mastery of storytelling. I remember thinking that David Copperfield was really boring when I read it in high school, but when I read other books from the same era, such as Nazarín, I think that maybe I just wasn´t ready for literature of this sort. I´d recommend this book, and I´ll probably read it again if I can will myself to read the story of Jesus in the Bible in the next year, so that I can see Padre Nazario´s wanderings through a different, biblical perspective (as opposed to the quixotic perspective that struck me during this reading). ( )
1 vote msjohns615 | Jan 6, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0192828789, Paperback)

Is Nazarin a latter-day Christ or a Quixotic fool? Saintly, mysterious, irritating, he attampts to set up an alternative society based on non-resistance to evil and the rejection of private property--often with hilarious results.
A strikingly modern work, it is at once a serious discussion of the roots of Christianity, an exploration of abnormal psychology, a critique of bourgeois materialism, and a brilliant exercise in comedy. This new translation does full justice to the richness and rhythm of Galdos's style, and makes available for the first time in English this important late work of Spain's greatest nineteenth-century novelist.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:13 -0400)

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