La buena reputación

Author: Ignacio Martínez de Pisón
- Fiction
- Seix Barral
- ISBN: 9788432225031
- Release Date: 01-01-2015
-Reviewed by: Erin Elizabeth Gaston-Owen

Martínez de Pisón’s latest work, La buena reputación, plays to his strengths as an author who has focused on period pieces with well-developed characters and entertaining plots. 

Samuel and Mercedes are particularly convincing individually and as a couple: it’s easy to identify with and feel for them as circumstances and relationships tug at and mold them into the people we discover at the end of the work. These two in particular reflect the dualities that many U.S. residents experience on a daily basis, especially those who hail from other countries.  Miriam and Elias, too, are intriguing, as they reflect the natural and surprising outcomes in offspring with dual cultural backgrounds, but the two who really cinch it are Mercedes and Samuel, as their Catholic and Jewish identities play out in the dynamics of marriage.  Obviously, the setting is very similar to that of Dueñas’ El tiempo entre costuras, but I found Martínez de Pisón’s work much ore satisfying because his narrative descriptions of time and place are more palpable and his characters (plural!) have more depth.

The settings (everywhere) are beautifully painted and the plot certainly moves along (sometimes almost abruptly so - reflecting, surely, the abrupt changes experienced by the characters themselves), but 636 pages is daunting for the U.S. market.  There’s no need to cut anything, but reformatting the work to fit in ~400 pages would certainly make it more palatable. The prose is very readable, so a larger page size and smaller font would work fine.  


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