The novel’s central character, Augusto, is a pampered, aimless young man who falls in love with Eugenia, a woman he randomly spots on the street. Augusto’s absurd infatuation offers an irresistible target for the philosophical ruminations of Unamuno’s characters, including Eugenia’s guardian-aunt and “theoretical anarchist” uncle, Augusto’s comical servants, and his best friend, Victor, an aspiring writer who introduces him to a new, groundbreaking type of fiction. In a desperate moment, Augusto consults his creator about his fate, arguing with Unamuno about what it means to be “real.” Even Augusto’s dog, Orfeo, offers his canine point of view, reflecting on the meaning of life and delivering his master’s funeral oration.
Fog is a comedy, a tragic love story, a work of metafiction, and a novel of ideas. After more than a century, Unamuno’s classic novel still moves us, makes us laugh, and invites us to question our assumptions about literature, relationships, and mortality.
“Unamuno’s Fog begins as a comedy of self-deception and role-playing, and ends by undermining the very notion of personal identity. With roots deep in Spanish culture (Cervantes above all), and anticipating a century of metafictions, from Borges to Perec, it is a triumphant demonstration of the novel as philosophical toy; rendered by Elena Barcia’s translation with all its lively humor intact.” —Geoffrey O’Brien, author of People on Sunday and The Guns and Flags Project