(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

The Final Mist begins in a very symbolic way: The protagonist has just married Daniel, and they arrive at the hacienda during a storm, the rain and the cold functioning as metaphors for their loveless marriage. From this first night, the protagonist’s life is tinged by loneliness and frustration. She wanders through the woods, bitterly anguished by the fact that her life has no purpose and her body is aging without experiencing real love. The image of the young girl lying dead among artificial flowers in a house surrounded by heavy mist becomes, in the novel, the objective correlative of the protagonist’s own existence.

One day, Regina, her husband, and her lover come to visit, and the protagonist compares her barren life with Regina’s, who becomes a symbol of passion, music, and vitality. From this point on, the protagonist’s existential dilemma is symbolized by the dual oppositions of life (sound, light, fire, water, earth) and death (silence, darkness, coldness, deadly mist). One foggy night she leaves the house and encounters a mysterious young man who takes her to a house and makes love to her. The eroticism of this scene is highly symbolic as she feels, for the first time, that her life has a true meaning. Because of the surrealistic presentation of this encounter, the reader does not know if the lover really exists or if instead he is a product of her feverish mind. Reality and dreams merge in an ambiguous counterpoint between the...

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(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

Adams, Michael I. Three Authors of Alienation: Bombal, Onetti, Carpentier. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1975. Adams presents a sociopsychological critical interpretation of three Latin American authors whose works share similar themes.

Alegría, Fernando. “María Luisa Bombal.” In Latin American Writers, edited by Carlos A. Solé and Maria I. Abreau. Vol 3. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1989. An essay on the life and career of Bombal. Includes analysis of her works and a bibliography.

Guerra-Cunningham, Lucía. “Mariá Luisa Bombal.” In Spanish American Authors: The Twentieth Century, edited by Angel Flores. New York: H. W. Wilson, 1992. Profiles Bombal and includes an extensive bibliography of works by and about the author.

Mujica, Barbara. “The Shrouded Woman.” Americas 48 (January/February, 1996): 61-62. A review of Bombal’s novels. Mujica sees Bombal as a precursor of the Magical Realists and part of a literary elite that sought to integrate fantastic elements and social criticism into her work. A brief analysis and synopsis of The Final Mist and The Shrouded are included.

Ryan, Bryan, ed. Hispanic Writers: A Selection of Sketches from Contemporary Authors. Detroit: Gale Research, 1991. Entry on Bombal gives an overview of her life, writing, and critical reaction to her work.