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The Lost Steps Paperback – March, 2001
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Extraordinary. -- The New Yorker
Original Language: Spanish
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Top Customer Reviews
The book will take one on a journey into the depths of the human mind, the streets of New York City, and into the dense South American jungle. Never boring, the book is a page turner and will entice each and everyone who reads the book to travel, think and understand what was going on in the United States during the 30's- both the good and the bad. The book also sets up great discussion between intellectuals who know and understand the study of primitive instruments. The book is beautifully written, beautifully told and is simply great. This is a must to read to let your mind go into the deep jungle and into the concrete streets.
Our hero & narrator dreamed when young of becoming a great musician, but has long since sold himself out just for the sake of earning a living. He rarely sees his wife, an actress, because they both have busy schedules that seldom coincide. One day a fated encounter with a museum curator he knew in his youth leads him to a mission into the jungle to find and bring back the most primitive of musical instruments and to gain anthropological insights on the origins of music. The musician, who begins the trip with his mistress, ends up on his own cut off from civilization. In the jungle he at last able to find an inner peace and happiness, he finds a new woman, regains his health & vigor and at last is able to release the musical score he has always known was inside him. By the time his wife has a plane sent in as a publicity stunt to rescue him, he does not want to return.
This novel is deeply philosophical, in the end our musician can no longer find a place in either world, and the message is we can't go back, also theories about early humans which have been arrived at only by studying archaeological artifacts can only be flawed, to quote "New worlds had to be lived before they could be analyzed".
Carpentier was the first writer to coin the phrase `magical realism' where myths, fables and religion are interwoven into narratives without faithful adherence to time or reality. The form is taken to its extreme in Garcia Marquez's Autumn of the Patriarch, and these two authors remain magical realism's most accomplished exponents. Although the style has influenced writers worldwide, for me it doesn't seem to work beyond Latin America.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It has been one of my favorite books in English and in Spanish!!!Published 3 months ago by ana novas
A composer makes an epic journey into the jungles of South America in search of rare native musical instruments but finds, instead, a succession of revelations that transfigure him... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Steven Davis
Make no mistake, this is difficult reading. There were times when I wanted to put the book down because the narrator becomes so tedious. Read morePublished on July 24, 2010 by anonymous
Probably the most remarkable literary event of the 20th century was the explosion--no other word will suffice--of Latin American literary creativity, fully comparable to a similar... Read morePublished on September 14, 2009 by William J. Fickling
I have very mixed feelings about this novel.Before anything else I must say that the writer has an extraordinary use of the Spanish language. Read morePublished on March 22, 2009 by N. K. Kordatzis
First, anyone who criticizes this book for being pretentious and somehow hypocritical COMPLETELY misunderstands it. Read morePublished on November 29, 2008 by Bawon Jenkins
Well, any book that requires you to know a lot can be accused of being pretentious. This book expects the reader to have a passing knowledge of Latin American geography, botany,... Read morePublished on July 30, 2007 by Pamela H. Long
This book reminded me lots of Malcolm Lowry's "Under the Volcano". In both books the self-destructive main character sort of moves from fascinating episode to episode, while the... Read morePublished on May 15, 2006 by wbjonesjr1