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Hell Has No Limits
Series No.: SMC 101
ISBN: 1557131872, Pages: 144
Chilean Literature, Fiction
A Sun & Moon title.
* * *
Winner of the America Award for Literature
With its stark atmosphere, powerful characterizations, and dazzling alterations of perspective in time and gender, José Donoso's early masterwork, Hell Has No Limits, anticipates the qualities of better-known works by this Chilean magic-realist. He called it his best work: "the most perfect, with fewest errors, the most complete."
Originally published in 1966, this grimly vivid novel evokes the sweetness and despair during one fateful day in the collective existence of Estación El Olivo, a decayed community marked for doom as surely as Donoso's central character, the transvestite dancer/prostitute la Manuela, whose virginal daughter operates the brothel out of which she/he works.
La Manuela is menaced both by his would-be protector, the local politician/land baron who wants to raze Estación El Olivo for his expanding vineyards, and by a coldly vengeful trucker, nursing a lifetime of hurts, deprivation, and suppressed sexual ambiguity. The lives of this triopast and presentare indelibly forged in the novel's stunning climax, which combines a shocking act of violence in the present with a bizarre erotic encounter from decades before.
Author of A House in the Country, The Obscene Bird of Night, Coronation, This Sunday, Curfew, and numerous other works, Donoso is one of the great Latin American boom novelists. He was awarded the international prize of the America Award in 1996, shortly before his death.