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The Good Cripple Paperback – May, 2004


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Editorial Reviews

Review

A writer of unprecedented originality....Essential and necessary. -- Vanguardia

Allen's translation...is a spare yet thought-provoking exploration of a fictional cold-blooded and vicious kidnapping. -- Roberta Gordenstein, Multicultural Review, 1 October 2004

Audacious...magical.... Rey Rosa deftly collapses the frontier that lies between consciousness and unconsciousness, language and silence, civilization and barbarism. -- The San Francisco Chronicle

Fiercely impressive....With concise and measured efficiency, Esther Allen's translation delivers a very compelling and easily accessible novel. -- Harry Morales, WorldView, November/December 2004

Spare and powerful. -- Nora Sohnen, East Bay Express, 23 June 2004

The novel will not be put down. -- Susan Salter Reynolds, LA Times Book Review, 27 June 2004

This slim, volatile tale concerns a kidnapping of a rich man's son gone awry...and things turn tense and appropriately noirish. -- Bridge Magazine, March 2005

About the Author

Rodrigo Rey Rosa, born in Guatemala in 1958, is the author of eight books, three of which have been previously translated into English by Paul Bowles. destruction, disorder, and corruption." —El País
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Product Details

  • Series: New Directions Paperbook
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation; Uncorrected Proof edition (May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811215660
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811215664
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #950,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By RH on June 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
Guatemalan author Rodrigo Rey Rosa's THE GOOD CRIPPLE, like Jean-Patrick Manchette's THREE TO KILL, is a sharp little dagger of a novel that takes a crime (in this case a kidnapping) as a point of departure for stranger and deeper territory. The structure of the novel encourages repeated reads; it's loop-like and suggestive, and yet pared down to the bare minimum prose-wise. Esther Allen's translation is good but she definitely does not have Paul Bowles' talent at wringing out both clarity and allusiveness from Rosa's texts; this is the only weak point in an otherwise excellent book. It won't be a big seller, but it should be. New Directions deserves credit for bringing more of Rosa's unique fiction to English-only audiences. Hopefully, more is on the way...
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
This sparsely written novella appears to be fairly straightforward on the surface. The indolent 20ish son of a wealthy Guatemalan is kidnapped and held ransom by a criminal gang. When his father doesn't pay up after they send a toe, they cut the son's foot off and send it to his girlfriend. The father pays up, but the gang's plan doesn't totally work out... The son is eventually released and spends the next decade moving around the world with his wife, seeking happiness. Then, one day, he sees one of his kidnapper/mutilators. Will he seek revenge or won't he?
Rosa attempts to liven up this simple tale by tweaking the structure. The book begins with a 15 page "Part One " which itself starts with one of the kidnappers having just met with his victim some eleven years after the event. Chronologically, this should come at the end, and I'm not sure why Rosa swapped this around, other than to try and inject a little more tension into the narrative. Part Two starts with the kidnapping and proceeds from there to catch up to Part One. Which is not to say Rosa explains everything. A few important items go unexplained, for example, who is the lawyer in Part One? And did the father receive the toe or not?
More importantly, what does it all mean? Is the victim's decision regarding revenge meant to have some larger meaning in the context of Guatemalan or Central American politics or society? If so, what is that meaning? Or perhaps his actions (or lack thereof) are in some way meant to be emblematic of Central American elites in general? The publishers imply a deep allegory at work in the book, but I'm still waiting to discover what it is. I should mention that I have little background knowledge of Guatemala or the region, which may explain my not getting it. Or maybe there's nothing to get... In any event, the writing is simple, sparse (or as the publisher would have it, "muscular"), and quite readable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. J. Smith VINE VOICE on May 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
This slim volume continues Rodrigo Rey Rosa's list of excellent works. He excells at exploring human nature, especially as embodied in Latin American men; he explores in spare language and direct plot. In The Good Cripple several threads weave in and out of focus in fascinating interplay. Who is more crippled by a kidnapping many years ago - the kidnapping victim who lost a foot or the kidnapper who lives in fear of discovery and gained nothing of the ransom money? Who is the least macho - the kidnapper who couldn't kill the hostage or the hostage who years later has no desire to kill the kidnapper? The plot circles in many aspects - travel, hotels, whores, children ... - and in those circles the reader becomes entranced at the laying open of human fragility (and ability to continue on). Equally telling is which relationships allow the expression of the fragility and which require a "brave front."

This is another volume that reaffirms my fondness for Rey Rosa.
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By Christopher Linares on September 7, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book was practically new !
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