A varied and accomplished collection (originally published in 1985)
of five vivid stories by a Spanish feminist and surrealist, now
making her English language debut, whose entrapped, dreamy
characters grip the imagination powerfully. The influence of an
insensitive patriarchal culture is stunningly captured in the title
story's revelation of the eerie symbiosis that binds (and bonds)
two distracted married women. "Once Upon a Time" amusingly
speculates about the inner lives of Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and
her dwarfs, and various Disney characters. And "The Dead" depicts a
frustrated wife's psychic disintegration during her wedding
anniversary party, in an incisive piece that's also an ingenious
gloss on James Joyce's famous fiction of the same name. Brilliant
work, nicely translated, from a versatile, stylish, and almost
frighteningly contemporary writer. (Kirkus Reviews)
Ana Maria Moix is one of the most innovative and entertaining
writers in Spain today. Her writings include children's literature,
poetry, novels, and short stories; her work has been praised
throughout Europe and the Americas for its stylistic innovations,
witty, satiric spirit, and feminist themes and fervor. The five
stories collected in "Dangerous Virtues" ("Las virtudes
peligrosas"), each varying greatly in style and substance, are
among Moix's most remarkable writings. The title story is a
mesmerizing account of the relationship between two beautiful women
who communicate only by staring at each other. "Once upon a Time"
is an ironical exploration of the unhappy life of characters from
fairy tales and children's rhymes. "The Naive Man" tracks an
insufferable young man's downward spiral into drunkenness. Other
stories in the collection include "The Problem", a comic tour de
force about the troubled sexual relations between a bickering
married couple, and "The Dead", the chilling self-analysis of a
young wife whose thoughts reveal her weakening grasp of everyday
reality. Sophisticated and unfailingly original, all of the stories
are instantly accessible and absorbing. "Dangerous Virtues" is the
English-language debut of this collection of stories from a
fascinating contemporary writer. Margaret E. W. Jones is a
professor of Spanish at the University of Kentucky and the author
of "Spanish Literature: A Brief Survey" and "The Contemporary
Spanish Novel". She is also the translator of Esther Tusquets' "The
Same Sea as Every Summer" (Nebraska 1990) for which she won the
Kayden National Translation Award.
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