José Donoso’s The Lizard’s Tale

The inclination for escapism, so poignantly symbolized by the novel’s principal metaphor—the lizard’s tail, which is hastily shed when the animal finds itself in danger—is ultimately Muñoz-Roa’s undoing.  Reflecting upon his break from the Informalist movement, he cannot determine what, or whom, has been left behind. And this uncertainty is what eventually confounds him, leaving him unable to complete even his most quotidian tasks.  It is no surprise when he finally surrenders to the artificial light of his dingy apartment to avoid the shadows that threaten to consume him.

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