The narrator, the main character, a member of a conservative family and observer of the history of Región during the 1920’s and the 1930’s, a crucial period during which Región, as a microcosm of Spain, is preparing for a civil war. He relies on memory to present, again and again, some facts and characters that change and become distorted by time.
Mary, the cousin of the narrator. She is the only member of his clan who crosses the boundary that separates his family from the house of the Ruan family, another powerful clan of Región. Mary weds Julian, the instructor of the Ruan children. Julian is a republican who goes into exile after the Spanish Civil War. In the United States, Mary divorces Julian and marries a physician, with whom she goes back to Región, where she lives for a while with her former family, with the Ruan family, and at their new home. After Mary’s death, the house is abandoned by her husband.
Emilio Ruiz (eh-MEE-lee-oh rrew-EES), the fiancé of Mary’s eldest sister. A rich landowner and the owner of a mine, he is a conservative who becomes—without marrying Mary’s sister—the leader of her conservative family. He succeeds in alienating Mary and her new husband.
Jorge Ruan (HOHR-heh
(The entire section is 468 words.)