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Confabulario and Other Inventions (Texas Pan American Series) Paperback – 1964


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Juan José Arreola (1918–2001) was a Mexican writer and academic. He is considered Mexico’s premier experimental short story writer of the twentieth century.

George D. Schade (1926–2010) was Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Texas at Austin and was a noted translator.
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Product Details

  • Series: Texas Pan American Series
  • Paperback: 263 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press (1964)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0292710305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292710306
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,434 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Reader in Tokyo on August 11, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Arreola (1918-2001) has been called Mexico's outstanding 20th century writer of experimental short stories. He began publishing around 1941. His work rejected realism, using elements of fantasy to mock aspects of human nature and convey existentialist themes. His playful humor, erudition and occasional use of the essay-like short story have prompted comparisons with Borges, though he lacked that author's elaborate style or interest in extended metaphysical constructions. A comparison might also be made with the outlook and some of the work of Donald Barthelme.

This book was published in English in 1964. It collected 97 short stories, satirical sketches, fables, vignettes, a bestiary and other writings that Arreola had published in Spanish between 1941 and 1961. Essentially, it followed a similar anthology published in Latin America in 1962.

It was divided into four sections. The first two, a bestiary and the author's shortest pieces, often just half a page in length, could be skipped with minimal loss, in my opinion. It was the works in the last two sections that showed him at his most creative.

These stories were short, from 2-7 pages. The best of them were original and sharply told, showing people incisively in all their irrationality and absurdity, often with satirical or other humor.

In one of the earliest, most serious pieces, "God's Silence" (1943), a narrator wrote to God asking for some sign of reassurance: "I see men all around me leading hidden, inexplicable lives. I see children drinking in contaminated words, and life, like a criminal nurse, feeding them with poisons. I see people who dispute the eternal words, who are called the favorite and the chosen.
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