Donoso, José (hōsāˈ dōnōˈsō) [key], 1924–96, Chilean novelist and short-story writer, b. Santiago. He attended Princeton and taught there and at the Univ. of Iowa (1965–67). Donoso moved to Mexico City, later lived in Spain for much of the 1960s and 70s, and returned to Chile in the early 1980s, establishing himself as a severe critic of Gen. Augusto Pinochet's regime. Noted for its complexity and pessimism, darkly surreal fantasy, and telling social satire, Donoso's multilayered fiction is among the most distinguished to emerge in post–World War II Latin America. He often detailed aristocratic decadence and the lonely worlds of writers and exiles and was one of the 20th-cent. Latin American authors experimenting with legends, myths, the bizarre, and the grotesque. His novel The Obscene Bird of Night (1970; tr. 1973), the nightmarish and obsessive narrative of a failed writer named Humberto, is widely considered his masterpiece. Among his many other novels are Coronation (1957, tr. 1965), This Sunday (1966, tr. 1967), A House in the Country (1978, tr. 1985), The Garden Next Door (1981, tr. 1993), and Curfew (1986, tr. 1988).
See his The Boom in Spanish American Literature: A Personal History (1977, rev. ed. 1983); studies by G. McMurray (1979), P. Swanson (1988), M. Adelstein, ed. (1990), P. Finnegan (1992), S. Magnarelli (1993), F. M. González Mandri (1995), and B. J. Carbajal (2000).
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