Pascual Duarte is a Spanish peasant in prison writing and reflecting about his life and wrongdoings before being executed. He is very impulsive and paranoid, and has killed several people (including his own mother) and animals, based on hotheaded reactions. His nature can be explained by traumatic experiences, such as watching both his father and his son die.
Pascual is an antihero who shows a bit of guilt, but mostly justifies his killings, and it is astonishing how naturally he does so.
Cela's novel has remarkable similarities (themes, tones, events) with The Stranger, by Albert Camus, despite having been published the same year, 1942. There is one particular episode, when Pascual shoots his dog, that is strikingly similar to one in Camus' novel (Meursault shooting an Arab). This can probably be explained by the depressed mood that reigned after the Spanish Civil War and during World War II.
This report prepared by Andres Becerra