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A Hammock Beneath the Mangoes: Stories from Latin America (Plume Fiction) Paperback – November 1, 1992
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From Publishers Weekly
Colchie assembles an outstanding anthology of Latin American short stories; he draws heavily on familiar names, but eight of the 26 writers included in this QPB selection are translated here for the first time.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
This cornucopia of delights presents to English-speaking readers a one-volume assortment of the representative best of the giants of recent Latin American letters: Borges, Cortazar, Garcia Marquez, Fuentes, Lispector. Only the absence of Donoso, Vargas Llosa, and especially Arreola's modern classic "The Switchman" prevents it from being definitive. Although most of the stories have been previously published and translated, this collection marks the first time these 26 powerhouses have been brought together. Since nothing recent combines Spanish American and Brazilian authors, nor includes newer writers not readily found elsewhere, this anthology is highly recommended for all collections.
- Lawrence Olszewski, OCLC, Dublin, Ohio
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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The collection featured old and new voices, the celebrated and the lesser known, and highlighted writers who created unexpected, dreamlike worlds. Some of the works could be regarded as classics: Machado de Assis's "The Psychiatrist," Quiroga's "The Dead Man," Borges' "The Circular Ruins," Cortàzar's "Axolotl," Carpentier's "Journey Back to the Source," Guimarães Rosa's "The Third Bank of the River" and Fuentes' "The Doll Queen."
Other writers were well known - Onetti, Rulfo, García Màrquez -- but their selections differed from the usual ones in other anthologies. There were other celebrated writers - Amado, Bioy Casares, Lispector, Scliar, Allende, Puig, Arenas, Cabrera Infante, Ferré. And then writers who were comparatively lesser known and from Brazil (Armonía Somers, Murilo Rubião, Joao Ubaldo Ribeiro, Lygia Fagundes Telles, Rubem Fonseca, Paulo Emílio Salles Gomes) or Puerto Rico (Ana Lydia Vega). Writers who might be considered comparable in their creation of dreamlike worlds but who didn't make it into this anthology: Asturias, Levinson, Pinera, Arreola, Monterroso, Donoso and Peri Rossi.
Some of the stories were written in a minutely described, hallucinatory style and/or seemed merely to pile incident upon incident (Borges, Carpentier, Bioy Cesares, Somers, Puig, Arenas, García Marquez, Rulfo, Cabrera Infante). The one by Cabrera Infante differed from the rest in that it was a humorous parody filled with light-hearted wordplay by the narrator. But many of these stories were nearly unreadable and couldn't be penetrated in any depth. Exceptions for me were works that described the killing of a pig and a participant's revulsion in grotesque and memorable detail (Ribeiro), the shift in consciousness of a narrator who entered a museum (Cortàzar), and a narrator who sought a character from his childhood (Fuentes). These succeeded in drawing me in to their bizarre worlds.
Others were told clearly but in a style similar to folk tales or fables and involved extraordinary, larger than life events and/or fantastic characters, such as a psychiatrist who decided to help humanity by building a madhouse in town (Machado de Assis), a father who went to live in a boat on the river and never returned (Guimarães Rosa), a lover who escaped from an angry husband (Amado), a man who found and "tamed" a woman (Allende), a magician who could pull tigers out of his sleeves but was worn down by reality (Rubião), and the plagues of Egypt as described by the Egyptians (Scliar).
Others were also told in a more or less straightforward and realistic way but created a strong atmosphere of unreality or tension, as in the description of the death of a man (Quiroga), the events surrounding a murder (Onetti), the description of a plot by two characters against a third (Salles Gomes), a female narrator's budding independence from her controlling grandmother (Fagundes Telles), a narrator's description of the menace involved in several relationships, including her own (Vega), and the friendship of two girls at school that crossed racial and class boundaries (Ferré). Fagundes Telles' writing was described by the writer as closer to the psychological precision of French writers from the 1940s and 50s than to the naturalism and regionalism (or magic realism) of her contemporaries, which won her comparisons with Colette.
Aside from the classic stories, I appreciated this collection most for the many examples of writing from Brazil, for a number of the more straightforward, well-constructed stories, and one or two of the folk tale-like stories.