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The Fat Man from La Paz: Contemporary Fiction from Bolivia Hardcover – September 5, 2000
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From Publishers Weekly
Poverty, politics, mysticism and fantasy, all filtered through the consciousness of modern-day Bolivian writers, animate Seven Stories' fourth offering in its series of contemporary world fiction anthologies. Several of the 20 stories collected in this celebration of 75 years of contemporary Bolivian fiction are being published in English for the first time. "Buttons," by young writer Claudia Adri zola, is a delicate tale of angels, sadness and memory, in which a granddaughter is granted a glimpse of the lives of her mother and aunts as she picks through a little box of buttons. The 1936 classic "The Well," by Augusto C spedes, continues to chill the soul. Written in diary form, the story tells of a contingent of thirsty soldiers during the Chaco War who are ordered to dig for water. After seven months of backbreaking work, the 150-foot well remains dry, and the men are losing hope and their senses. When the enemy attacks the encampment because of rumors of the well's existence, the futility of the war and the plight of the underclass sear themselves into the imagination. The title piece by Gonzalo Lema paints a candid portrait of urban life through the eyes of a city detective investigating a kidnapping. Bolivia may not spring to mind as one of the hot spots of Latin American literatureDit is home to none of the big names in the fieldDbut the stories collected here are well chosen and revealing of a particular Andean culture and sensibility. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Born in La Paz, Bolivia, ROSARIO SANTOS directs Fulbright Programs for Latin America for the Institute of International Education. She has been the managing editor of the literary journal, Review, Latin American Art and Literature, and the director of the literature program of the Center for Inter-American Relations. She lives in New York City.
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The book contains twenty short stories written by Bolivian writers addressing themes including racial politics, romance, and Bolivian history. While some of the stories are better than others - I liked the first story the best, and the title story, The Fat Man from La Paz the least - they each have a distinct voice, and are original and enjoyable reads. The book also contains a excellent forward that gives a little bit of background on each story, great for readers interested in the cultural/political themes important to these writers of 20th century Bolivia.
In short: The Fat Man From La Paz is a great read if you like short stories or Latin American fiction, and even better if you want to learn about Bolivian culture. Read this if you're planning to visit Bolivia: these stories have much more heart than a boring travel guide.