Academic journal article Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Reyes Calderón's Lola MacHor Series. A Conservative Feminist Approach to Modern Spain

Academic journal article Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Reyes Calderón's Lola MacHor Series. A Conservative Feminist Approach to Modern Spain

Article excerpt

JEFFREY OXFORD. Reyes Calderón's Lola MacHor Series. A Conservative Feminist Approach to Modern Spain. Eastbourne, UK: Academic Press. 2015. 162 pp. ISBN 978-1-84519-646-2.

This book is a thorough analysis of the five novels that make up the series about the Spanish examining magistrate Lola MacHor so far. Oxford looks closely at many a feature in Reyes Calderón's crime fiction, which includes Lola herself, her husband Jaime, a scientist who gives her a hand with his experience in research, and Iturri, a former colleague now working, conveniently, for the Interpol. Oxford covers the five novels in detail and offers a minute summary of each of them, both as an appendix and as part of the descriptive analysis developed in the main body of the book. Chapters four and five, exploring issues relating to criminality and social criticism, are especially relevant, substantial and informative, and give readers a good insight into Calderón's novels and into MacHor's private and professional life.

I could agree with Oxford that Lola is a good exponent of contemporary Spanish female characters in crime fiction written by female writers. But while it is true that MacHor has reached the highest rank female characters get to, she is not the only one to have a family or to try to reconcile work and motherhood - not in Spanish crime fiction and not in the now popular Nordic noir novels. What is more difficult to accept is that Lola MacHor constitutes a paradigm of post-Franco women, or that her development 'parallels the typical Spanish female woman of her age' (3). The fact that she has a large family and is clearly against abortion might voice her own way of thinking, but it does not represent a significant number of women in Spain today. Moreover, 'post-Franco' is no longer a tag in use to refer to cultural chronology - it is now 40 years since the dictator passed away and he is just a historical reference for most contemporary Spaniards, even for those who would belong to MacHor's generation.

I prefer the description given of Lola as a character who 'grows professionally throughout the novels, moving from law professor in Pamplona to Supreme Court justice in Madrid, setting her own path and developing as an individual. In her journey, she becomes more affected by a globalized society but manages to retain what she considers positive, traditional traits' (61) In fact, this is a good summary of how MacHor progresses in the series, becomes empowered and reaches subjectivity. …

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