(Literary Essentials: World Fiction)

Return to Region is not a traditional novel with a conventional plot. It consists of integrated situations that are referred to throughout the work but that are never completely developed. The book is divided into four parts. In the first, the author describes in detail the landscape of Region and introduces Numa, the mythical guardian of the town, whom no one has ever seen and who does not actually appear in the novel. Numa’s presence dominates Region, although the townspeople are not certain who he is. Numa “protects” the town by killing anyone who ventures into the forest which borders it, thereby maintaining a state of order by keeping out intruders. Yet during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), a period of national disorder, an intruder does appear. He is a gambler who plays with a gold piece that miraculously wins for him every time. Gamallo, a Nationalist officer, becomes obsessed with winning the gold piece and loses Maria Timoner, his girlfriend or fiancee (the relationship is not clearly defined), to the gambler, who runs off with the woman and stabs Gamallo in the hand. The gambler’s intrusion into the town sows disorder and the decline of Region is attributed to his presence. Independent of this incident, the town’s liberals attempt to organize around Mr. Rombal or Rubal (the spelling of his name varies throughout). Also early in the novel, the mother of the boy (whose name is never stated) abandons her son for undisclosed reasons.

The second, third, and fourth parts of Return to Region consist of exchanges between Marre Gamallo, the daughter of the dishonored soldier,and Dr. Daniel Sebastian, who runs a clinic in the town. Events mentioned in the first part are partially described but...

(The entire section is 711 words.)