Most of the action of the novel takes place in the Abalos mansion, occupied by Misiá Elisa Grey de Abalos and her three women servants, and in the working-class neighborhoods where Mario, who loves the young servant Estela, struggles to maintain his human dignity. The Abalos house represents the enclosed space of repressed characters; the outside constitutes that space where they would find liberation. Coronation consists of three parts; the first, “The Gift,” introduces the characters who gather in the upper-class house to celebrate a birthday party. The guest of honor is Misiá Elisa, a demented lady in her nineties. Despite her old age and her confinement in bed, Misiá Elisa dominates all those who frequent the house, including Andrés, the orphaned grandson whom she and her husband reared. Still a bachelor in his fifties, Andrés lives comfortably on his inheritance and occupies his idle life by collecting fancy walking sticks and carrying on philosophical conversations with his lifelong friend Carlos Gross. Misiá Elisa also controls three women servants who live in the mansion: Estela, a young girl whose sole duty is to care for the aging lady; Rosario, who has cooked for the Abalos family for nearly half a century; and Lourdes, also an aging housekeeper.
The second section, “Absences,” follows the fates of Andrés and Mario, Estela’s boyfriend, as they both undergo a major crisis in their lives. Andrés is aroused from his complacency by...
(The entire section is 604 words.)