Critical Evaluation

(Essentials of European Literature)

Although this novel presents a vivid and realistic picture of life in one corner of Spain, Vicente Blasco Ibáñez did not want himself to be cataloged as a regional novelist. Proud of his country and its efforts, he felt that he, his work, and his countrymen in general were often misunderstood, particularly by Americans. Like many other Spanish authors, also, he could not understand why Americans knew so little about Spain and its culture, and so much of his early fiction dealt with his native section of Spain. Even so, he did not want to be thought of as associated with any one district or as the chronicler of the manners of any one region. Many of his novels achieved greater popularity, but most critics believe that THE CABIN was his major contribution to the art of the novel.

As is obvious in THE CABIN, Blasco Ibáñez had both superficial and deep qualities as a novelist. His superficial qualities can be seen in the THE CABIN’s occasionally slovenly style, its spotty characterization, and attendant minor defects. The novel’s virtues are numerous, however, and they stem from Blasco Ibáñez’s storytelling skill, his strong descriptive ability and knack for selecting topics that are perennially fresh and timely. Still magnetic today are the novel’s basic themes of the land, human malice, and the heroic tenacity of Batiste, who never surrendered. Even THE CABIN’s handling of the key rural problem of water...

(The entire section is 515 words.)