Review Of "José Donoso's House Of Fiction: A Dramatic Construction Of Time And Place" By F. González Mandri

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Throughout his literary career Chilean novelist José Donoso has commented on the art of the fiction writer as the ability to create an appropriate literary disguise (voice) to serve as intermediary between the writer and his public. González Mandri contends that Donoso's talent is to be found not so much in the specific disguise chosen but in his ability to continually transform his mask. She examines the question of literary voice or mask as a metaphor for all of Donoso's fiction but takes this question far beyond such previous studies as Sharon Magnarelli's Understanding José Donoso (CH, Apr'93) and Pamela Finnegan's The Tension of Paradox (1985). In a highly readable prose she demonstrates how the metaphor of voice as disguise in Donoso's texts is closely related to the notion of voice as theatrical performance. This leads her to conclude that as Donoso constructs a fictive mask he also creates the spatial dimension of an ever-changing stage. Heavily influenced by Peter Brooks's The Melodramatic Imagination (CH, Feb'77), González Mandri convincingly shows how Donoso transforms the notion of voice as mask into a unique verbal expression in which the visual predominates over the spoken and becomes a stage set where his characters act out their lives through a melodramatic language of gestures. Upper-division undergraduate upward.


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