Notes: Alarcón began writing this novel while in California, and he completed it during a European trip. The novel is set in the 1920s in the Santa Clara Valley of California and its plot revolves around a Mexican immigrant's obsession with the daughter of an Italian immigrant. However, the book is as much philosphical and historical as plot-driven, with large sections devoted to the history of California and ruminations on the culture of the Bay Area.
In his prologue, Ricardo León describes this novel as a "historical and human document of an America both overflowing and overwhelming, still a little naive and barbaric, but full of gold, progress, and a force of will" ["documento histórico y humano de una América desbordante y arrolladora, un poco ingenua y bárbara todavía, pero lleno de oro, de progreso, y de voluntad"].
Alarcón (La Paz, Bolivia, 1881 – Buenos Aires, 1954) was a writer and educator who fled his native country in 1920 due to political unrest. By 1922, he was in California and soon found a position as a Spanish professor for the College of the Pacific. He was among the faculty who moved to Stockton, California, in 1924, when the college relocated. He stayed in the Central Valley for a decade, and then he returned to Bolivia as a celebrated writer.
Edition + Condition: First edition (first printing). A very good copy in wrappers missing a narrow piece along the bottom edge. This copy has the more common cover by Rafael de Penagos, which appears to be dated 1928, suggesting it is a second issue.
Publication: Madrid: Renacimiento, 1926.
Item No: #306011