La Dama Del Alba

Continuing my quest to read more Spanish literature, La Dama del Alba (The Lady of Dawn) by Alejandro Casona is my second read.  I had a third one but I had to abandon it because it just wasn’t grabbing my attention.  This time, however, I was into the book from page one.  I should clarify, this is a play, but it was still interesting.

La DamaSo the gist of the plot is that there’s this family in provincial Asturias (Northern Spain, along the Atlantic coast), who’s lost their oldest daughter.  There’s a mom, a grandfather, three children, a son-in-law, a field hand, and a housekeeper.   We never know what happened to the father, but it’s been about a year since the oldest daughter was assumed to have drowned in the river since she disappeared and all any one found was her handkerchief in the river.

One evening, a pilgrim (this is a part of Spanish culture due to many Christians traveling by foot on pilgrimage to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela) arrives at their door.  She just asks to rest and get warm.  The children immediately take to this strange lady who tells them stories and plays games with them.  The grandfather thinks he remembers her and just before she leaves he figures it out.  I have to stop here with the plot points because to keep explaining would ruin the ending.  From this point on the play takes a turn for the who-dunnit.  We are suddenly to wonder if the reality we know is actually what is happening.  And it’s all thanks to the lady (la dama).

I read it in Spanish, but for those of you who enjoy reading world literature, I’m sure there’s an English translation.  I got the idea for this book from one of Spain’s literary awards, so I’m sure if it has received some literary merit there, it’s highly probable it has been translated here.  If you’re interested in mysteries and the idea of fate and reality not being what we think, than I think you’ll enjoy it.

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