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The Book of Embraces (Norton Paperback) Paperback – April 17, 1992


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Product Details

  • Series: Norton Paperback
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (April 17, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393308553
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393308556
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In an enchanting book of wonders, Uruguayan writer Galeano applies the collage-like technique of Memory of Fire, his fictive historical trilogy of the Americas, to his own life and the contemporary scene. redundant and you later make clear that these are short pieces.aa He writes of his years in exile during Uruguay's military dictatorship in the 1970s, of his heart attack and of his wife's loss of a child halfway to term. His sociopolitical commentaries expose the shallow selfishness and callousness vague. do you mean 'cultural character' 'lack of individuality'aa? /works without.gs of our time. His targets range from or more vivid:'He skewers...'? aa/leave as is.g political repression in Chile, Guatemala and Marxist Cuba to whites' persecution of Native Americans to the inequities of any system in which "voters vote but don't elect . . . . Bankruptcies are socialized while profits are privatized." Lovers, executioners, fabulous animals, slavish bureaucrats and the numberless poor inhabit his dreamlike parables and mini-stories (many a single page or shorter), which hop from Amsterdam to Hollywood. Galeano's surreal drawings complement the text, blending wild imagination, pointed satire and old-fashioned charm.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This literary scrapbook, mixing memoir, documentary, essay, and prose poem, defies clear-cut genre classification. Journalist/writer Galeano, who claims he writes for the downtrodden, infuses the people and subjects dear to him with his socialist viewpoint and ironic poignancy, typified by such pieces as "Christmas Eve" and "Paradoxes." The series of vignettes lacks the thematic unity that pervades the historical reinterpretation of his trilogy Memory of Fire ( LJ 10/1/85, LJ 6/1/87, LJ 5/1/88), since this mixture of politics, art, and literature not only covers a more disparate and heterogeneous content but also obviates chronological progression. An uneven collage that falls short of emulating the jolting vision of his earlier work.
- Lawrence Olszewski, OCLC, Dublin, Ohio
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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I am filled with longing to read its pages once again.
S. Liu
By blending them together with his frequently whimsical graphics, Galeano creates his own unique form of literature.
Michael J. Mazza
Off course... in every shining story you will also find the dark side.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on June 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
"The Book of Embraces" is a marvelous text by Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano. The book has been translated into English by Cedric Belfrage, with Mark Schafer. This book is one of those texts that transcends genre. It consists of more than 150 short texts (most less than a page long) interspersed with Galeano's quirky, collage-like illustrations.
These short texts seem at times like essays, short stories, prose poems, or autobiographical fragments. By blending them together with his frequently whimsical graphics, Galeano creates his own unique form of literature.
Galeano writes about many topics. His short pieces take us all over Latin America--to Uruguay, Argentina, Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, and other countries--as well as to other parts of the world. He frequently reflects on life under dictatorships and mindless bureaucracies. And other Latin American writers frequently pop up: Claribel Alegria, Julio Cortazar, Mario Benedetti, and others.
Some of these short pieces are playfully humorous, others scathingly satirical, others gently compassionate, others hauntingly metaphysical. But throughout Galeano seems to maintain his faith in the human spirit: "When it is genuine, when it is born of the need to speak, no one can stop the human voice" (from "Celebration of the Human Voice 2"). "The Book of Embraces" is a book that you may want to embrace.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By smassey@idt.net on January 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
I may be the only Galeano 'groupie' in existance. That fact is a result of my being introduced to this extraordinary writer in "The Book of Embraces". Since then I've bought used and 'remaidered' copies from Portland to Cambridge to NYC, saved them for awhile and then gave them away as presents to my best friends. I regularly quote his fables and words in a weekly newsletter I publish for the school I direct. Several years ago (definitely before Amazon.com time), I heard him at an author's reading at the (ill-fated) Endicott Bookstore in Manahttan where he signed my tattered copy of "The Book of Embraces". Boy was that an experience! I gave him an envelope full of my newsletters and invited him to visit our school but, alas, he's never written or called. I guess he stays away from groupies. No matter - a real groupie holds no grudges. It's clear that I am biased; there's no reason not to be. Galleano's work gives you a greater appreciation of the human condition, especially as it affects the Latino world in the Americas. The history, wisdom, politics and rich culture of the peoples indigenous to the Americas as well as the suffering of their decendants hits you in your gut, your head and your heart again and again as your read The Book of Embraces. This book uses understated, simple stories to enlarge your political perspective. That can make a difference.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Paul Siemering on September 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
No one on this planet can write like Eduardo. And other writers have had the good sense not to try. Oh yeah the way he puts a book together is all his own- but please don't be put off by it because you never saw anything like it before. What Eduardo has to say is always something very special- here is a guy who writes with his whole heart and soul, with all his passion too. One of the greatest joys of this book is sharing it with your friends- there are so many little stories you know somebody will love. And what a nice surprise it is when they discover this incomparable writer, and can then go and start reading his other books. Of which there are plenty, and all great.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on August 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
The fact that Eduardo Galeano's The Book of Embraces defies conventional categorization is indicative of its sometimes fragmented and always unpredictable content. Its combination of short texts with seemingly unrelated and shocking illustrations was a welcome break from traditional forms. My sister, who read Galeano in high school, recommended this book one night when I asked her to suggest something different for my new book club. Unfortunately, I immediately disregarded her suggestion and did not pick up this book until a year after our initial conversation.

Galeano has been criticized for his lack of organization and rambling style, yet the "random" musings is literature in its purest form. The author demonstrates his ability to passionately write in several styles and on varied topics while still maintaining a common uniting thread. A majority of the short texts come back to military dictatorship throughout Latin America and particularly within the author's homeland, Uruguay. All of the stories reflect the disconnected reality of people away from their country of birth. Galeano's exile forced him to confront a lifestyle completely different from what he had previously experienced. Galeano's writings are therefore permeated by a sort of nostalgia for Latin America before political forces altered it beyond recognition. Another uniting feature of the book is the inclusion of sections entitled "The Walls Speak." The fleeting nature of graffiti mirrors the book's impulsive origins. Galeano writes what he feels on whatever is on his mind, much like the authors whose mysterious scrawls he has accumulated. Some poignant phrases include: "'Everybody makes promises and nobody keeps them. Vote for nobody.'" And "Here we sit, watching them kill our dream.
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