La sinrazón / Dream of Reason
Novel , 1960
A masterpiece of modernist fiction about one man’s search for meaning, Dream of Reason (La sinrazón) reveals Rosa Chacel as an intellectual and literary innovator whose work stands alongside that of Joyce, Proust, and Woolf.
This meditative novel, grounded in the thinking of Spain’s great modern philosopher Ortega y Gasset, unfolds as the journal of a bourgeois chemist who makes his way in Buenos Aires just before and during the Spanish Civil War. Tracing his relationship with three women, Santiago Hernández explores the power of his own intentions and the limits of human reason. His introspective experiment, set against the background of world-altering events, documents the workings of a self-absorbed mind speculating on the inseparability of self and circumstance and is a brilliant enactment of how, from such tensions, narrative emerges.
“Against a backdrop of world-shattering events, the impact of art and thought informs elegantly drawn conversations . . . Chacel's masterpiece is a book where the death of a fly provides as much opportunity for self-knowledge as ‘love’s pure drift.’” Publishers Weekly
"Much more than a 'novel of ideas,' this story of Santiago's eventual recognition that his command of reason avails little against the stony silence of an unresponsive God is fresh, bold, and consequential." Jack Shreve, Library Journal
“Rosa Chacel’s La sinrazón is one of the best, most original, and most daring novels of twentieth-century Spanish literature. . . . It is time that her importance in the history of world literature be recognized.” Javier Marías
“Dream of Reason confirms Rosa Chacel as a major Modernist writer, the equivalent of a new-found Proust meditating on memory and selfhood, an image-driven Woolf with a profound philosophical bent. But reading Chacel is its own unforgettable experience. . . . This is the novel we’ve needed to fill in a world touched gingerly, if at all, by Borges and Cortázar, yet one quintessentially Argentine, and inimitably Chacel’s. She is the reader’s inside outsider on the touring force of psychology, philosophy, history.” Barbara Probst Solomon, journalist and author of Arriving Where We Started
"Dream of Reason is an astounding philosophical novel in the tradition of Sartre and Proust, writers to whom Chacel does not suffer by comparison." Andy Barnes, www.belletrista.com