Critical Context

(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

When María Luisa Bombal published La última niebla in 1934 (The Final Mist, 1982), she was immediately acclaimed by critics as one of the most outstanding writers in Latin America. Radically departing from the realist mode in vogue, she constructed this first short novel on the ambiguous juxtaposition of dreams and reality experienced by a female protagonist who escapes her tragic social predicament through alienation. The publication of La amortajada in 1938 reaffirmed her position as an innovative writer, and, in 1942, her second book was awarded the National Prize as the best novel in Chile. In 1948, the English version, The Shrouded Woman, was published in the United States, and it was subsequently printed in Sweden, Germany, Great Britain, and Japan. The Spanish version of The Shrouded Woman has had eleven different editions, and, even today, it is a best-seller in Latin America.

Although literary criticism of Latin American literature has always undergone changes and revisions, The Shrouded Woman has remained one of the most significant Latin American novels ever published. Its impeccable technical elaboration and the presentation of a reality where the concrete and the marvelous coexist have made this novel a landmark of surrealistic accomplishment in Latin America. It is also a remarkable expression of women as second-class citizens with no right to change society. Its protagonist has been...

(The entire section is 461 words.)