- Series: New York Review Books Classics
- Paperback: 768 pages
- Publisher: NYRB Classics; First Edition edition (January 17, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0940322919
- ISBN-13: 978-0940322912
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.5 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 28 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #214,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – February 1, 2002
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"And if you want to change your life - for the better - and have never read the Colombian novelist Alvaro Mutis, you owe it to yourself to get acquainted with The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll. A collection of seven novellas that can be read at a run or singly, it features the greatest rainbow-chaser since Quixote, but a lot sexier and ravenous for both learning and love, not to mention fantastical, doomed schemes to make a pile of loot." --Simon Schama, The Guardian
From the Inside Flap
"The tidy paperback volume, exactly seven hundred pages of smallish Trump Mediaeval, with a warm and informative introduction by Francisco Goldman, has the supple heft of a newborn classic, a latter-day "Don Quixote" whose central persona, both amusingly shadowy and adamantly consistent, moves around the globe somewhat as the Knight of the Mournful Countenance traversed the plains of Spain." --John Updike, THE NEW YORKER, January 13, 2003
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Tasting notes: hints of Conrad, subtle Borgesian bouquet, noticeable Cormac tannins, its long complex finish resonated most strongly of Werner Herzog's diary of filming the incredible "Fitzcaraldo". (sample quotes from Herzog:
"The jungle is obscene. Everything about it is sinful, for which reason the sin does not stand out as sin. The voices in the jungle are silent; nothing is stirring, and a languid, immobile anger hovers over everything."
"Tumors form on the trees. Roots writhe in the air. The jungle revels in debauched lewdness."
If you haven’t read Herzog’s book with the perfectly Maqrollian title,Conquest of the Useless: Reflections from the Making of Fitzcarraldo I recommend it, but even more, make sure you Les Blank's making-of documentary, Burden of Dreams (The Criterion Collection) It is one of the best documentaries you will ever see.
More than anything else I’ve read lately, Maqroll has stayed with me, like a piece of meat stuck in that hollow in my back molar, which I keep ponderously probing, trying to get at it.
Maqroll is possessed by an insatiable wanderlust that knows not its origin nor its purpose. Maqroll hides his nomadic urge for displacement behind an illusory guise of purpose - as if he is searching for something. His schemes seem to be quests for wealth but even Maqroll knows that this is just a pretext for something he will never be able to define.
There is an interesting quandary that the novel implicitly presents by the end. Having experienced so much of what life has to offer - women, adventure upon adventure, friends, occupations both inside and outside the law, exotic travels by sea and over land - Maqroll seems to have lead a full life beyond what any of us could possibly wish for. However at the same time Maqroll's life is one of terminal emptiness. Nothing he touches lasts, memories fade, relationships vanish through time and death, and in the end his life seems to be a panoply of false starts that all add to nothing. So did Maqroll live the ideal life or a squandered one? The answer is as clear as the sea.
By turns Conrad, Cervantes, Proust, Celine, Dickens (and who knows who else), this novel weaves all of these elements and inspirations into a nearly flawless tapestry that simultaneously owns its inspirations and distances itself into something utterly unique and without precedent.
My rating: 10/10 for the first 3 stories. 8/10 for the rest (there is a marked decline once Mutis assumes the role of biographer and begins telling the stories second-hand). 9/10 Overall