Borges, Neruda, Paz, Garcia Marquez, Fuentes, Vargas Llosa--immortals here descend from the firmament of Latin American literature to converse with merely human interviewers for the Paris Review.
The writers' voices--as Derek Wolcott acknowledges in his lively and perceptive introduction--generally sound less distinctive in these interviews than in their brilliant stories and poems. But some of the interviewers' questions still do strike revelatory sparks: Borges recalling the timidity with which he began his epoch-making storytelling; Paz confessing the despair and rage occasioned by the attacks of critics; Fuentes reliving the boyhood romance of reading Treasure Island.
Beyond the glimpses into individual emotions and personalities, these interviews offer insights into the writers' philosophical and political views. Such views acquire particular piquancy when one writer wields his convictions against those of another: Neruda calls Borges a "dinosaur" because of his contrasting political beliefs; Paz, in turn, characterizes Neruda as a "Stalinist." But above the political polemics loom the works of the creative imagination, works that even political foes appreciate for their timeless luminosity. A valuable acquisition wherever Latin American literature has an audience. Bryce ChristensenCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
“What these interviews achieve in their essential courtesy is the hallowing of the craft by the writers whatever their stupid quarrels, whatever their superficial cynicisms. It is this secular sacredness that, hovering on the verge of translation, of being translated myself, made me grateful for the echo of the names Cortázar, Fuentes, Paz, García Márquez, in the house in Guadalajara where the ferocity of the flowers was an ignorance that these voices dispel.” —from the Introduction by Derek Walcott