Tomorrow, as soon as it dawns, I will go to visit your grave, Papa, Adriana, in the long abandoned family home, reflects on her life before her father’s death when she was fifteen. She remembers their closeness and similarities, but also their distance and differences. Wedded by their physical resemblance, temperament and interests, they are also separated--by silence and sorrow, desires and disillusionments.

One night the adolescent tries to discuss her father’s torment, but both become angry. It is their last conversation. In the hours that follow, her beloved father takes his life with a single bullet.


Received with critical and popular acclaim, The South is a dramatic internal monologue about a daughter’s complex but sure love for her father--a man of silence, absence, and profound sadness--who gave her love, affection, and confidence along with frustration, anger and emptiness. It is also about a family in twentieth century rural Spain in which religious beliefs, adherence to social convention, and personal "cowardice" exacerbate already difficult interactions.

By its use of second person narration the short novella draws the reader into the intimacy of the protagonist-narrator’s private reflection. Her reminiscence blends three temporal dimensions of understanding of the same event: that of the child’s own desperate desire to flee the household; that of the grieving adolescent who seeks and discovers the secret that underlies the tragedy; and that of the mournful introspective adult.

The South is written with fine attention to language, metaphor, and the multi-layered richness of recounting not only an event but the intrapsychic and interpersonal responses to it over time. Its sensitive portrayal of a unique story engages the reader in a shared experience of the chiaroscuro feelings evoked by life and death.


Translated by Sarah Marsh. First published as El sur seguido de Bene (Anagrama, Barcelona, 1985).

Primary Source

The South; and Bene



Place Published