Skip to main content

Doña Barbara

A Novel

Translated by Robert Malloy
With a new Foreword by Larry McMurtry

Rómulo Gallegos is best known for being Venezuela’s first democratically elected president. But in his native land he is equally famous as a writer responsible for one of Venezuela’s literary treasures, the novel Doña Barbara. Published in 1929 and all but forgotten by Anglophone readers, Doña Barbara is one of the first examples of magical realism, laying the groundwork for later authors such as Gabriel García Márquez and Mario Vargas Llosa.

Following the epic struggle between two cousins for an estate in Venezuela, Doña Barbara is an examination of the conflict between town and country, violence and intellect, male and female. Doña Barbara is a beautiful and mysterious woman—rumored to be a witch—with a ferocious power over men. When her cousin Santos Luzardo returns to the plains in order to reclaim his land and cattle, he reluctantly faces off against Doña Barbara, and their battle becomes simultaneously one of violence and seduction. All of the action is set against the stunning backdrop of the Venezuelan prairie, described in loving detail. Gallegos’s plains are filled with dangerous ranchers, intrepid cowboys, and damsels in distress, all broadly and vividly drawn. A masterful novel with an important role in the inception of magical realism, Doña Barbara is a suspenseful tale that blends fantasy, adventure, and romance.

Hailed as “the Bovary of the llano” by Larry McMurtry in his new foreword to this book, Doña Barbarais a magnetic and memorable heroine, who has inspired numerous adaptations on the big and small screens, including a recent television show that aired on Telemundo.

448 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2012


Table of Contents



Part I

                Who is with Us?

                The Descendant of the Cunavichero

                The Ogress

                A Thousand Different Paths

                The Lance-Head in the Wall

                The Memory of Hasdrubal

                The Tawny Bull

                The Horse-Breaking

                The Sphinx of the Savannah

                The Spectre of La Barquerena

                The Sleeping Beauty

                The Day Will Come

                Señor Danger

Part II

                An Unusual Event

                The Trainers

                The Furies

                The Rodeo


                The Terror of the Bramador

                Wild Honey

                The Phoenix

                The Dance

                A Passion without a Name

                Imaginary Solutions

                Song and Story

                The Evil-Eye and Her Shadow

Part III

                The Terror of the Savannahs

                The Whirlwinds

                Ño Pernalete

                The Cross Roads

                Man’s Hour

                The Ineffable Discovery

                Inscrutable Designs

                Red Glory

                Amusement for Señor Danger


                Light in the Cave

                Dotting the E’s

                Daughter of the Rivers

                The Gleam of a Star

                Many Horizons, Many Paths

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press