Reviews - What do customers think about Cinco Horas Con Mario/ Five Years With Mario (Clasicos Contemporaneos Comentados)?
hysterically funny monologue of a petty Spanish woman Jul 31, 2001
Delibes's Cinco horas con Mario (Five hours with Mario) is a stirring portrait of the situation of Spain, what effects the Civil War and Franco's dictatorship left on the minds of the people in Spain. And for those who are not very familiar with Spanish history, it is also a witty satire of the narrow-mindedness of the petty bourgeois. The Mario in the title is a typical representative of the Spanish free-thinking intellectuals, who dies in a heart-attack and during the five hours in the title his wife speaks out in a long monologue her frustration. It slowly become more and more hysterical, until at the end it gets reduced to repeating the same obsessive thoughts over and over again. In some ways the book can be considered a parody of the psychological novels, when a hypersensitive person recollects his or her memories, rich in subtle details. Here, this sensibility gets replaced by hysteria and instead of tinged recollections we are offered the frustrations of the primal desires of Mario's wife. For example every second page she returns to her biggest frustration: Mario did not have a car. Moreover, he used to ride a bike, he used to meet his strange Socialist friends, and was filled with strange thought like the liberation of women. The irony of the situation is emphasised in the fact that Mario now is dead and cannot answer to his wife, which can also suggest the futility of her ideas, many of them pretty eerie, like when she talks about the good days in the air-raid shelters. Thus, the humour has also a taste of morbidity, especially when probably, like most of her ideas, these kind of thoughts must be a cliché among the Spanish petit bourgeois. All in all, this book is the splendid representation of human pettiness, a catalogue of Spanish (and international) common places.