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Memoirs Paperback – January 15, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

Review

A sort of distilled essence of [Neruda] in both substance and form . . . the starting point for all future biographers. (Robert Maurer, Saturday Review)

Some of the descriptions of places--India, China, Mexico especially--are brilliant, but it is Chile that emerges most clearly with lights and shadows. (Selden Rodman, National Review)

Language Notes

Text: English, Spanish (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (January 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374527539
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374527532
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #246,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Pablo Neruda is regarded as the greatest Latin American poet of the 20th century. Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971, his breadth of vision and wide range of themes are extraordinary, and his work continues to inspire new generations of writers.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Jana L. Perskie HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
Pablo Neruda's "Memoirs" is not a comprehensive autobiographical document. It is a personal memoir, recounted as if the author was sitting around a table, with good friends and a bottle of excellent Chilean wine, telling tales of the people, anecdotes and incidents that were so important in his life. "Confieso Que He Vivido," means I confess that I have lived. And Sr. Neruda certainly did that...with zest, zeal and so much talent. The translation by Hardie St. Martin is a good one, but it does not do justice to Neruda's beautiful skill with the Spanish language. He romances the language, like no other, even with his prose.
Neruda was born, the son of a railroad worker, in the then frontier wilderness of Southern Chile in 1904. He led a bohemian lifestyle, dressing in black "like the true poets of the last century," during his university years in Santiago. His shyness, the "kink in the soul,"...especially of women, took him a while to overcome. He describes the people and places of that period with great 'carino' (love). His political ideology began to form at that time also, and politics became an integral part of his writing. The Student Federation, student demonstrations and the subsequent repression, had a great impact on the young intellectual.
Neruda led a rich and fascinating life. World traveled throughout his life, he served as Chilean consul in Burma, Ceylon, and Java. He was the consul in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, and during this time "Nine Love Poems" from "Veinte Poemas de Amor y Una Cancion Desesperada" was published. It was at this time also, that his friend Federico Garcia Lorca was killed. Neruda was present in Paris to organize a worldwide anti-Facist congress of writers that would be held in Madrid. His writing about Spain during the war is heartbreaking.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 31, 2002
Format: Paperback
Although not a fan of autobiographies, Neurda's Memoirs is a must. Memoirs traces his life and adventures from rural Chile to such places as India and pre-world war two Europe. Not only did he visit such wonderful places, but his timing and the role he plays in events is absolutly amazing. Moreover, one gets to see such events through the eye of a poet making Memoirs a rich and stirring read. Reading this not only gives perspective on where Neurda's passion for life came from, but his values and his poetry.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
Memoirs by Pablo Neruda was simply the most beautifully written autobiography i have ever laid eyes on... Not only does he talk about his exceptional journey through life, from his childhood in the forest to his worldwide travels as a chilean diplomat (and encounters with famous personalities along the way), but his abundant observations and insights on life are an inspiration to anyone who has cruised through life while wondering where they are headed. Beautiful language and keen observations. Reading it made me wish I knew Spanish...
Here's my favorite quote from the book: "It lies not in our power to love or hate, for will in us is overruled by fate"
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Caring for sense on August 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
More than a review, I want to express my concern for so many mistakes in this translation.
Just in one page I chose to read (p.53-54)I found various inexplicable mistakes.
i.e. the translator chooses the word "vowels" to translate "vocablos", which in Spanish is a synonym for "words", therefore the whole sense of Neruda's "love for words" is twisted to say "love for vowels", totally meaningless!
Again, When Neruda says a word sits in a sentence "como una reinta", the translator changes the meaning of "like a little queen" to "like a small little thing" which has nothing to do with the sense of "little queen".
Just another example -of many more in just one page- when the Poet says "las palabras viven en el féretro escondido", what is hidden is the "féretro" (bier), not the words;nevertheless, the translator places the words as hidden in the bier, which is by no means the case.
One does wonder how such imprecise, careless translation of such a great poet has been allowed to be published!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Micah Christensen on October 1, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From very first pages, I was swept away into another world. You do not need to be familiar with Neruda or Chile to enjoy this book, but it helps. Neruda, while well known for his immense contribution to poetry, is a stunning writer of prose.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAME on June 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is not the kind of Memoir which attempts to truly detail and cover the life of its subject. It is rather impressionistic and anecdotal. For instance it opens with a description of the world of southern Chile ,Neruda's native land. Aside from one loving reference to his step-mother Neruda tells us almost nothing about his family. His father was a railroad worker who did not show any interest in or respect for the poetry of his son. Neruda's focus is on himself and the natural world. His descriptions have a poetic strength about them. The book is filled with many incidents and vignetters which are of great interest. For instance he tells of a time when lost in the forest and he is directed to the house of three elderly sisters who provide at the edge of the jungle a whole world in their home of Parisian culture and cuisine. He tells us of his childhood years, and then his time at university in Santiago. He writes much about Valparaiso. And then he writes about his travelings in the diplomatic service. His wanderings in Southeast Asia bring him in touch with many exotic worlds. Loneliness and adventure seem his twin companions. For the greatest part of the book we read of romantic and sexual adventures without love. At one point in the story it seems his most affectionate relation in life is with a strangely domesticated mangoose he has adopted in Ceylon. The weak part of the book for me is the political opinionizing, especially when this becomes anti- Americanism. Neruda was a dedicated Communist. The chapter on his life in Spain in the Loyalist cause is central. Neruda believed more great poetry came out of the Spanish Civil War than out of the whole of the Second War. Neruda was from youth deeply involved in the world of poetry.Read more ›
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