This regionalist novel deals with the confrontation between civilization and the barbaric aspects of the rural environment and its inhabitants. It is written in the third person and mixes vernacular language and regionalisms with literary narrative, making the main conflict more obvious and at the same time more tangible. This novel is considered a masterpiece of Venezuelan literature and a classic in Latin American literature. It establishes a psychological study of the people of the Venezuelan plains:  victims of unfortunate situations, but at the same time strong and courageous.
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Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Domingo Miliani Editor. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. This review is bilingual. First you can find the English version and at the end of that one, you will find the Spanish version.
This is my favorite Latin American book!!! This book is by an author from Venezuela. And indeed I like a lot of books written by authors from my country. However, to choose a single book for my "Favorites" virtual shelf, when it's down to pick just one bo This review is bilingual. Also, it's the only book that I had to read in high school as homework that appears in the "Favorites" virtual shelf that as I commented in other review of books in that shelf, I decided to limit that shelf to only 10 books.
To denote how important are really these books to me. From all the books that I had to read in school and high school, definitely this one is my favorite of those. But that title here denotes also the respect and fear that everybody, specially the men, have for her. And her first name "Barbara", is a real name used by many women but in Spanish also means "wild" and this is crutial in the story, since she lives in the deep of the jungle around the Arauca River.
She is a landlady, powerful, rich and ruthless. When she was young, she was raped by pirates, also losing her first love, so she became bitter and hating to all men. The shock when those powerful characters meet is the very heart of the story. And don't worry if you think that I spoiled you the book, all that it's only the introduction of the main characters.
The story is just beginning. Since this a really popular novel from Latin America, I am sure that it's available in English too, but I felt important to explain you the names of the main characters since its symbolic importance can be lost in translation.
Este libro es por un autor de Venezuela. De todos los libros que tuve que leer en la escuela y el colegio, definitivamente este es mi favorito. Ella es una terrateniente, poderosa, rica y despiadada. View all 24 comments. It is, of course, my book from Venezuela for the Read The World challenge. I was more attracted by the fact that it has been made into a movie twice and a telenovela three times. And that suggests a novel with a good story to tell.
It is indeed a rollicking yarn, full of love, lust, jealousy, dancing, cattle rustling, chicanery, revenge, murder, sweeping landscapes, colourful birds, and manly men riding across the plains.
Or Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and the witches rolled into one. And in best superhero fashion, she is given a backstory of childhood trauma to account for her villainy. Although you can see how it could be a part of a developing Venezuelan nationalism, because it is very much a novel about a place and a culture; the plains and the plainsmen who raise cattle there.
I could see it forming part of a Venezuelan identity, rather as other cowboys did in the US. So I obviously missed some nuances. Anyway, I enjoyed it. It has an evocative sense of place, atmospheric set pieces, strong characters. Good stuff. The author's prose and its translation is very deep, meaningful and heartfelt. This book is a revelation of the human condition given great challenges with nature, evil, abuse and love.
It is a very moving story, moving quickly, but with grace and insight. Shelves: great-american-read. I suspect many most? I had to read the English translation by Chicago University Press, from As such, much of the colloquial speech was lost on me.
Then again, some sections were nicely lyrical, which i assume came thru nicely from the original Spanish. Overall, a somewhat unnerving experience. The novel could also be titled Santos Luzardo. He's really the main ch I suspect many most? He's really the main character.
I'm not surprised that a male author focused more on his male protagonist even while naming his novel for the female antagonist. Or maybe i've just got my male blinkers on. Or Marisela del Llano? I can stand behind the allegory of education and the rule of law triumphing over foolish adherence to counterproductive traditions. Bottom line, though, i was only slightly invested in the main characters' failures and successes. Probably the result of Gallegos's totally different world than mine.
And a little bit being lost in translation. By the numbers: Great American Read : of Oct 14, Marce Matamoros rated it really liked it. Though I never read it in high school, Dona Barbara is a staple lecture across Latin American schools all over, and maybe this fact kept me away from it for a long time, as normally the readings assigned as part of a scholar program tend to be boring.
I couldn;t be more wrong with it. Short, but with an amazing narrative pace, the book tells us the story of Don Barbara, a cruel and vindictive woman who is know as the "cacica" chief of the Arauca, in the venezuelan "llanos", due to her ferocity Though I never read it in high school, Dona Barbara is a staple lecture across Latin American schools all over, and maybe this fact kept me away from it for a long time, as normally the readings assigned as part of a scholar program tend to be boring.
Short, but with an amazing narrative pace, the book tells us the story of Don Barbara, a cruel and vindictive woman who is know as the "cacica" chief of the Arauca, in the venezuelan "llanos", due to her ferocity, unscrupulous nature, and her apparent supernatural powers. But behind that facade, lies a woman with tremendous grief due to a horrible experience in her youth, which molded her personality and brings her the painful memory of a one time love, of the person she might have become if reality hadn;t been so crude to her.
As a character, her nature is contrasting, as she might be interpreted as a feminist heroine, being brave enough to make other respect herself in a sexist environment, while at the same time being the damisel who wants to be rescued from her somber fate by a righteous man, represented in the figure of Santos Luzardo.
It never gets boring, I can guarantee, and though it may remind you of a latin american soap opera at times, it never falls into that melodramatic space.
As well, descriptions of the life in the "llanos" are vivid and full of sensations. I recommend it! I am so glad that I did! I thoroughly enjoyed it and felt that I had been transported to the llano prairie in Venezuela, roping cattle, riding horses, and hunting alligators! I don't always appreciate a lot of description of the setting, but in this case, it definitely enhanced the reading experience. The language was beautiful!
I was a little surprised that so much of the bo I decided to read this book because it was one of the few on the PBS Great American Read list that I had never heard of. Ultimately, it was about her, though! Luzardo returns to the llano to reclaim his family's land and cattle. Barbara's horrific experience as a young woman shaped her personality and her attitude towards men in a way that turned her into a vengeful and dangerous woman with supposed magic powers.
She meets her match in Luzardo, her enemy yet a man that she respects. The events that transpire between the two of them and their peons workers make for a great story.
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