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A Form of Resistance: Reasons for keeping mementos Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
Luis Garcia Montero ranks among the most important poets in modern Spain. He has received numerous awards for his writing. He is a respected literary critic, university professor and public intellectual. The 22 prose sketches that comprise A Form of Resistance are as complex and creative as their author. Each entry contemplates a different ordinary object in highly stylized, yet entirely personal, sentences. In each sketch, a new object becomes another metaphor of his ongoing poetic explorations.
In one sketch, Montero considers the modes of being he has inhabited and journeys taken while ensconced in a household chair. In various other sketches, his sweaters sing to him, his mirrors laugh or mildly complement him, his pens resist and elude him.
Ordinary objects like these are alive with memory and perspective for Montero. The most ordinary objects embody the most profound insights. The known world is an archipelago of sweaters, glasses, clocks, mirrors, chairs and pens, a terrain of re-discovered relevance.
As we follow Montero across this spiritual geography, a clear connection emerges between his world and our own, between the world of human experience and memory as it exists all around us, and the world of ideas and impressions, of words, sentences and paragraphs that Montero weaves out of himself to form the tissue of that connection.
He shows us a way to resist the forces of chaos and nihilism of a world in which people, places and things are commoditized, financialized, rationalized, their value and relevance measured against a bottom line. A house, he would say, is not valuable by virtue of what we have paid for it or can sell it for, but, rather because our lives, and the lives of those we love, have unfolded within it.
It is human experience and memory that create real value, Montero suggests. This philosophical viewpoint is the form of resistance to nihilism and despair that gives his book its title.
Translator Katie King has brought this complex intellectual, emotional and ethical geography to vivid and charming life in her subtle, English expression of Montero’s original Spanish. King also sets the stage with an elegant and informative Introduction that places Luis Garcia Montero in his context as a 21st century poet who both embodies and advances the themes of several great 20th century Spanish writers. Montero is well served by King’s work on his behalf. And so are we, their readers.
Ms. King has selected 22 of Garcia Montero's short, readable story-poems from a collection of more than 50. All of her choices are a joy for an American reader. Garcia Montero's focus (at least in Ms. King's selection)is on the ordinary, everyday objects a reader might have thrilled to in William Carlos Williams or Walt Whitman.
As another reviewer commented, these individual story-poems stand up to (and are enriched by) each reading. My personal favorite is Sandals, the history of Cairo (and of tourism) viewed through a torn pair of sandals.
Ms. King's translation is easy and fluid, with rich layers of sound that bring Garcia Montero alive for the American reader. I hope for more.
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