Donoso obsessive subject is the decay of the Chilean bourgeoisie, but he vigorously rejects anything reminiscent of traditional realism or the portrayal of regional customs. In This Sunday (1966), he focuses on a family's activities on Sundays in order to view the boredom, passions, and misery of Chilean bourgeois society and its servants. The Obscene Bird of Night (1970) deals with the decline of feudal society through the story of a landholding family in a kaleidoscopic vision of decay and outrageous behavior.
The author, a retired university professor, was born in Brooklyn, New York, where he received his B.A. degree from Brooklyn College (CUNY). His graduate studies were completed at Columbia University, which conferred on him the degree of Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature. For some eight years Dr. Mades served as Chief of Mission for CARE in a series of Latin American countries, including Bolivia, Brazil, El Salvador and Haiti. The author served for a time as LanguageEditor for the American Book Company. Over the years, he hastranslated several books written in Spanish. For one of these, a novel by Josï¿½ Donoso called The Obscene Bird of Night, he received the PEN International Prize for Translation, and he currently is a member of PEN. He is the author of The Armor and the Brocade: A Study of "Don Quixote" and "The Courtier." Most of Dr. Mades's university teaching has been at Columbia University and Hunter College (CUNY). He retired from Hunter in 1988 as Professor Emeritus of Romance Languages. Dr. Mades and his wife Pearl share their abiding interest in the arts. By profession she is an art historian and has lectured for many years at The Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. Dr. and Mrs. Mades live in Silver Spring, Maryland.