THE LAUREATE: I’ll look him up later. Apparently he was one of the most important Spanish playwrights of the 20th century. Hooray.
WHAT I’M READING: “No Smoking” and “Princess Bebe,” two plays out of a free book on Google books. REVIEW: In “No Smoking,” a wealthy lady and her daughter get on a train coach with a gentleman. The women express their indifference to the car being a smoke-free one, but the man insists on waiting. The woman bitches like Rose’s mom in Titanic about everything, then the train stops at a station. The women get off and walk for a bit, and when the train leaves, the man isn’t in their car, so they figure he got off at the station and throw his bags off. During the lady’s ensuing torrent of bitchiness and hateful bile, the man comes back from the smoking car. “Princes Bebe” is about two distant members of the Suavian royal family who feel stifled by the restrictions placed on them because of their rank. One married a (shock!!!) comic opera singer, and the other (be still, my heart!) left her abusive husband for someone who didn’t treat her like crap. I dunno. This one was a little too pedantic for my taste, and it didn’t end with them dead in a ditch like maybe it should have. Whatevs.
RECOMMENDED?: Eh. Benavente is documenting the failure of old forms of life to adapt to the modern world, so if you’re interested in that, track him down I guess. It’s not very sophisticated as far as social commentary goes, but I’m only reading things that Benavente wrote long enough ago that translations are public domain, and he wrote well into the 60s, so maybe he got better as he went along.
WHAT’S NEXT: As of right now, I have no clue. Maybe Halldor Laxness’ Paradise Reclaimed.