Sacred Families Critical Context
by José Donoso

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Critical Context

(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

Since writing Coronación (1957; Coronation, 1965), Esta domingo (1966; This Sunday, 1967), and El obsceno pájaro de la noche (1970; The Obscene Bird of Night, 1973), among other works, José Donoso has been writing about middle-class people and their fruitless existence. He has depicted this social class as decadent, and as a victim of its conventionality, its blind submission to rules, and its absolute acceptance of whatever is in fashion. Sacred Families is no exception: The three novellas revolve around the bourgeoisie and its most negative characteristics. In each case, below the surface action lies the impossibility for the characters to be themselves: Regardless of the fight that some of the characters may put up, they will finally bend to the rules and become part of the society.