Over at Wuthering Expectations, Tom is hosting a readalong of Leopoldo Alas’s La Regenta, a big Spanish book from 1885.
I got my copy yesterday, and read the first few pages last night. The first paragraph is one of the best I’ve read in a long time:
The city of heroes was having a nap. The south wind, warm and languid, was coaxing grey-white clouds through the sky and breaking them up as they drifted along. The streets of the city were silent, except for the rasping whispers of whirls of dust, rags, straw and paper on their way from gutter to gutter, pavement to pavement, street corner to street corner, now hovering, now chasing after one another, like butterflies which the air envelops in its invisible folds, draws together, and pulls apart. This miscellany of left-overs, remnants of refuse, would come together like throngs of gutter urchins, stay still for a moment as if half asleep, and then jump up and scatter in alarm, scaling walls as far as the loose panes of street lamps or the posters daubed up at street corners; and a feather might reach a third floor, and a grain of sand be stuck for days, or for years, in a shop window, embedded in lead.
Then, later in the fall, NYRB Classics is releasing Alas’s His Only Son (which comes with another story, Dona Berta). Exciting stuff!