Even stranger is the fact that a young Harvard graduate, son of a college professor, would be sent on a dangerous and sensitive mission in the foreign service fresh out of college, full of ideas about how the world is but with limited practical or military experience. The role doesn't seem to fit the man he'd have been more likely to be one of my colleagues in the Peace Corps based on his pedigree , and I would have found his presence in the messy, multifaceted political world of Vietnam to be more believable if he were a thirtysomething World War II veteran with actual wartime experience.
It was a different time, though, and maybe young American idealists were thrown into political intrigue on a more regular basis in those days. Anyway, I still thought that this book was worthwhile as a cautionary tale of how wrongheaded it can be for one country to meddle in the business of another.
"NO HAY CAMINO PARA LA PAZ, LA PAZ ES EL CAMINO"
Even if the foreign entity's intentions are good, the end result often turns out to be much different than intended. As I understand it, this book was met with critical acclaim in the communist world and disdain in the American press. Right now, in , it doesn't read very controversially.
So much has been made of America's failures in Vietnam and other far off lands where politics and war have been waged, and so many Quiet American-type stories have been told since this book's publication, that it was difficult for me to fully comprehend how it might have been received upon its release. I found the conversations between Fowler and Pyle to be interesting because they showed how the old colonial powers might have tried to give America cautionary advice in the early days of our operations in Vietnam.
I imagine it would have been easy for a man of Fowler's age, who had seen and reported on the latter stages of the decline of the British empire, to look at the newly-arrived Americans and wonder what the hell they hoped to accomplish, or how they could have thought that their efforts to mold Vietnam's future to their liking would ultimately be successful.
The Great Gatsby by F. Last year I re-read a couple of my favorite books from my teenage years The Moviegoer and The Day of the Locust and really enjoyed seeing them from a different, more adult perspective. I had certain conceptions of these books in my mind that I had carried with me since high school I always thought adult life would be similar to how it was portrayed in The Moviegoer , and I could compare my memories with the stories I was reading again more than half a decade later.
As I read, I found that the books were very different from how I remembered them, or maybe it was that I was very different from when I last read them; either way, I enjoyed reading about the characters I first met as a teenager again as an adult, and I decided I wanted to keep going back to my old favorites. From the first page, I remembered that I had felt a strong connection with Nick Carraway when I first read this book, and I still do.
I can be obstinately nonjudgemental, or simply unwilling to judge other people. In high school I didn't understand as well as I do now what that can mean, because I, like Nick, have crossed paths with some boorish folks as well as a few Gatsbys in the past eight years or so, people on whom I wish I had passed judgement based on my initial feelings, rather than continue to give them the benefit of the doubt. I'm still happy with the way I am, and I do think it's hard to really understand other people in this world to the point that you can confidently judge them; however, I think I know better now that if you develop a relationship with someone without judging them, sometimes as time passes you wish you had had the strength of conviction to turn away sooner.
Imagining myself as Nick Carraway at thirty when I was sixteen years old implied a lot of experiences in between. Imagining myself as Nick Carraway at 26 implies that I've already had a lot of those experiences. That's a little scary, and reading this book again caused me to look back on what I've done since I last read it. I think Nick mentions that when he came back from the war life seemed boring, or that the war was exciting in a way that returning to America wasn't. I can relate to those feelings, having had the opportunity to travel to different countries to study and work when I was in college and immediately after, then returning to America to try and figure out what comes next.
Feeling like I'd reached the end of a certain road, and now had to look ahead in a way that I hadn't before, was difficult. Nick went into bonds, moved to New York, and met his neighbor, Jay Gatsby. He got to go to some cool parties at Gatsby's and hobnob with some rich and famous New Yorkers, and he saw the ugliness of adult life in the bitterness and unhappiness of the husbands and wives who came to Gatsby's to eat, drink and be merry. I remember in high school I thought those parties seemed exotic and desirable, and that being there would be worth it even though they were seen somewhat negatively or perhaps just realistically through the eyes of 30 year old Nick.
I would still enjoy going to Gatsby's parties now really, I wish I had friends like that, who could throw opulent parties with full bands and neverending champagne , but I understand the negative underside to it all: weekend after weekend, year after year, partying turns into alcoholism, behaviors become less innocent and more ugly, and life fills with more and more car crashes and DUIs, fights and arguments. I think Fitzgerald's book does a great job of portraying it all in a light that doesn't take away from the appeal and glamour of lives of people like Gatsby and his crowd of partygoers, yet still shows all of the other stuff that lies beneath, peeking out more and more often the older you get.
The other thing that surprised me when I finished this was that, as I read some biographical information about Fitzgerald online, I discovered that the author might have been more of a Gatsby than a Carraway. However, as I read a short biography of Fitzgerald I began to imagine his wife Zelda as a real-life Dolly, especially considering that he had to prove that he could support her through the publication and success of This Side of Paradise in order to secure her hand in marriage If one is to trust Wikipedia. I imagine Fitzgerald extrapolating the grind of selling stories to magazines, scripts to Hollywood, and books to publishers into Gatsby's shadowy activities, including elements of his romantic pursuit of Zelda into Gatsby's extended yearning for Dolly.
Gatsby amasses riches to make him a suitable candidate for Dolly's love, and it sounds like Fitzgerald had to do much the same to win his elite wife. I'm intrigued by the story of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda, especially considering the possible connections between Fitzgerald's life and his fiction, and I would like to read more about the couple. All in all, I enjoyed The Great Gatsby at I wonder how it will be to read it when I overtake Nick and Gatsby in age and I'm looking back on that stage of life where one's adulthood begins to crystallize and come into clearer focus.
I remember I was disappointed with their selection of books in foreign languages, which were strangely mostly in Polish. However, I'm glad I did at least find these plays, and they were free, so I certainly got more than I paid for. I didn't know anything about the play Huis clos when I read it, and my ignorance worked to my advantage: it allowed me to experience it in a way that many people, at least passingly familiar with the content of the play, might not have.
The reader or audience member is introduced into a situation with limited background information, and the particulars of the scenario are revealed as the play progresses. It is a straightforward situation: A man is brought into a room and then a woman and another woman are brought to accompany him. They are to spend some time there together, and they converse. I hesitate to say more than that, because I feel fortunate that I didn't know more myself. It was fun to be thrown into that room along with the first man and only slowly begin to understand why he was there.
This play also contains one of Sartre's more famous, well-known statements, and I'm glad I know the story behind it now. Les mouches is a retelling of the story or Orestes and Electra, the children of Agamemnon who seek to avenge his death. In this play, Orestes has grown up in exile from his hometown of Argos, where his father was murdered by Aegisthus when he was a young child. He is portrayed as an innocent young man who had a good, happy childhood.
However, he doesn't feel that he can continue in the life he's led now that he knows the story of his origins, and he understands that he may soon have the opportunity to step into his true identity as the son of a murdered king. He has been wandering from city to city with his tutor, and when he arrives to Argos, the people hide behind closed doors as if in mourning. Flies swarm everywhere, and the only being who will speak to the recently-arrived men is Jupiter. The next day, an event is to take place in town where king Aegisthus unblocks a passageway to the underworld and the spirits of the town's dead are allowed back up into the world, sitting at the tables and sleeping in the beds of the living for one day.
The living carry the burden of their dead the king carries that of Agamemnon and live in perpetual mourning. Orestes meets his sister Electra, and they eventually come to know each other's identities. Electra lives as a slave in the palace of the king and his wife, Clymnestra Clymenstra is Agamemnon's old wife and the mother of Orestes and Electra. She's called on to take part in the annual return of the dead, but instead of playing her part, she dances while dressed in white.
This act of rebellion displeases the king, who claims that he will punish her when he is able to he is not allowed to punish her on this day of mourning. Electra and Orestes talk about whether they should murder the king, along with their mother, and Orestes wonders whether this is the moment where he will finally take control of his life and do more than float through this world ignorant as to what his role in life will be. Jupiter tries to warn Aegisthus of his impending murder so that he can stop Orestes from committing an act that goes against the god's wishes.
He also explains the limits of the gods' power over man, and how Orestes will essentially be acting outside of the sphere of the gods' influence when he commits a murder of his own free will. Orestes realizes the gravity of his actions and the implications of his exercise of autonomy, and after he commits the murder of the king and his wife, he stands up to Jupiter, refusing to feel remorse and refusing to consider his crime morally wrong.
I really enjoyed this play and the way it depicted Orestes' exercise of free will and power over the gods. He would not let Jupiter convince him that he should regret his actions or fear their repercussions, and he would not let the Furies who hovered around him to attack him in physical representation of the feelings of regret that he might feel as a result of his crime which was a just one in his eyes.
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The whole play was very powerful, with Electra standing up to her captors, Orestes finding his way in life, and a mortal standing up to the king of the gods. I did wonder why, in a play where all the characters are Greek, the god in question was Jupiter, not Zeus. I thought maybe shifting the god forward an era by giving him a Roman name in a play populated by Greeks, was done to emphasize the idea that this wasn't a story of an ancient man's triumph over an ancient god, but of man's triumph over god.
Sartre is using ancient characters, but his reinterpretation of the Greek myth is a very modern one. I can't imagine a man successfully acting against the will of a major god in the way that Orestes does here in traditional Greek. The play made me feel a sort of atheistic exhuberance that I last felt as I read Camus' Le peste. It's exciting to read literature from a time when westerners like Sartre were extending literary expression beyond certain restraints placed on it by Christianity, and I enjoyed reading about an Orestes awakened to the limitations of Jupiter's power over him.
I'm glad that I found these two plays by Sartre. They have made me curious to read more by him, and they were both eminently enjoyable. You have been busy, Matt. I have been meaning to read The Quiet American for a while now.
Thanks for the reminder that I need to get to it. I felt bad about borrowing The Quiet American from a friend and holding it hostage for so long, and I'd been meaning to re-read Gatsby for a while. Viaje olvidado Forgotten Voyage by Silvina Ocampo I distractedly read an anthology of Silvina Ocampo's short stories the year before last I was really busy at the time and my reading of her stories lacked the continuity I needed to really get an idea of who she was as a writer , and I remembered her name the other day as I was browsing the Argentine section of the library the other day.
I got this nice, new edition of Viaje Olvidado, her first book, thinking that rather than reading a broad retrospective of her stories, it would be nice to go back to the beginning and experience her initial artistic expression. I am glad that I could spend some extended chunks of time reading this book, because I enjoyed it the most when I was able to immerse myself into the series of fantastic and strange anecdotes from the worlds of children and adults.
Of the nearly two dozen stories that make up this book, none is longer than seven pages. Most are between three and six, and narrate single events or chains of related events in the lives of a wide variety of people: children, teachers, doctors, sculptors, and other men and women in Argentina. They are often difficult to unravel: the first story, Cielo de claraboyas, shifts from a description of an upstairs family to an accident on the street without clearly delineating the change in the events.
In another story, two girls whose houses border one another slowly swap places, but in the confusion of the transition, their guardian angels do not make a corresponding switch. This leads to tragedy in the future. Many stories do have a fantastic or supernatural bent, but I think it's fair to say that the majority do not. In many cases, these short glimpses back into the past merely question the reality of what the person saw so many years ago. In looking back in time, meaning is sought but not necessarily assigned to events that happened in the past.
I thought these evocations of childhood were compelling and relatable to my own feelings when I look back on strange events from my childhood. I remember that two friends and I once stood on the railroad tracks and threw dozens of rocks into my neighbor's pool. We later had to clean the pool up and pay for the repairs. When I think back on it, I try to remember what I felt while I was throwing those rocks, what strange mix of exhilaration, fear and any number of other emotions went through me as I did something so clearly wrong.
And, also, why did I do that? Reading some of these stories was something like thinking back on and analyzing that rock-throwing event from my past. In a story called "El pabellon de los Lagos," a girl's childhood trips to the park are recounted, showing her emotions as she goes to a special pavilion and deposits coins into machines in exchange for prizes. Her pleasure as she takes her friend to this pavilion are doubled by the presence of her admired companion, and she goes on to recount her feelings as they stepped back out to the park and remembered the joy of the boat rides they could take in the lake.
In the title story, a girl is told different stories about how babies are made and her reasoned organization of these various revealations is recounted. I will need to read many of these stories multiple times in order to fully understand what I think the author is trying to say, and to make sense of the realities that she wishes to represent. I wish I owned this book so that I could do so at my leisure, but at least I have another three months or so before it's due back to the library. I have held a longstanding fascination with the town of Coronel Pringles because I grew up in the United States, eating Pringles and watching Pringles commercials.
These stories satisfied my desire to learn more about this town in the south of Buenos Aires province that shares its name with the chips that come in a tube, and one of them also made me laugh much more than I expected to when i picked up this book. He tends to refer to himself in the femenine, although the other characters all treat him like a boy and use masculine endings when speaking to him. The title story was my favorite. It is a chronicle of events from the family's time in Rosario, and they are bizarre and hilarious, told from the child's peculiar perspective. The story begins with her father taking her for her first ice cream, at the age of six, after the family has moved to Rosario, where ice cream is available for purchase unlike in Pringles.
It's gross, it's absolutely filthy, how can anyone like this? She has an intense persistence in saying and doing things that are unpleasant or embarrassing to her mom, and the entire story is absolutely hilarious. You learn a lot about their backgrounds, their vices and their lives in Pringles, and the various parties streaking across the bleak landscape collide in an increasingly explosive manner.
It's a counting game where they go back and forth naming bigger and bigger numbers. The ways that they try to outsmart each other and the ways that they determine what is acceptable and what is unacceptable in a game of escalating number counting really have a lot to do with their future adult lives, as well as universal human motivations. Spanish provides a lot more opportunities to differentiate between gender through adjective endings, and I wonder how this could be captured in English.
I read Rayuela in high school, in English, and have read it three or four times in Spanish. I read it while I was a student in Buenos Aires, and can only daydream that some day I'll read it while living in Paris. It's also one of the books I recommend most frequently to my friends. The possibility for interconnection between random events is tantalizing, but ultimately discouraging in that moments that may have been built through these random occurrences pass by so fleetingly, and one is left wondering if A were truly a unique result caused by B and C, or whether things would have been different had D or E occurred instead, or if they had occurred in a different order.
After Juan analyzes his surroundings orbiting around him, the focus expands, and Juan's group of friends are examined as they orbit around Paris including extended stays in Vienna and London. Marrast and Nicole who pines for Juan are in London, where Marrast is trying to order a large stone to sculpt, Nicole is painting gnomes for a book, and Marrast sets off an absurd daily congregation of neurotics in front of a mediocre painting by slipping a provocative note into their association. Also in London are Calac and Polanco, two Argentines whose conversations are verbally exuberant and who counteract some of the seriousness of the others' relationships.
A young laudist, learning French from Marrast, is also in the mix. Juan is working as an interpreter in Vienna, accompanied by Tell, a Danish woman who joins him in obsessing over the odd couple of "Frau Mirta" and a young English woman, following them from hotel to hotel and fearfully stalking their every action. They get drunk on cognac and she watches Celia prepare a bed for a doll sent to her by Tell from Vienna, which reminds her of how she prepared her patient for his surgery in a bed from which he would never rise again. These groupings of characters eventually splinter, with some coming to London to meet others.
They eventually all return to Paris. Their lives and conversations are accompanied by entities known as "paredroi," whom I liked to think of as "absent presences. Like, when Calac and Polanco are stranded on the island in the middle of the little pond, who is the "my paredros" who participates in their conversation? Is the paredros a reflection of who's there and who's not there out of the group of friends, such that the paredros would be more of a Juan-type figure as Marrast and Nicole interact in London?
I constantly tried to constuct different paredroi in different situations, trying to better understand conversations between different people and the different "my paredros" who accompany them. My efforts, along with my attempts to construct any system providing structure, order, and completeness to this book, were ultimately only partially successful. As I thought about this book as a "model kit" to be assembled by the reader, I wondered if the instructions could be found not only in chapter 62 of Rayuela, but also in Juan's initial meal at that Polidor.
I was trying to connect a group of people and their stories, ordering them into a whole as Juan attempts to do with books, mirrors, cities and chateaux sanglants in the restaurant. Does it all add up, or should it? I found myself dogearing pages with passages that I found remarkable for their emotional intensity, then I had to stop, because I was dogearing too many. In reading this book, I found it helpful to have chapter 62 of Rayuela handy. Here is a translation of that chapter: "For a time Morelli had considered writing a book whose form remained in loose notes. That which most clearly described it is the following: 'Psychology, words with an air of age and maturity.
A Swede is working on a chemical theory of thought. Chemsitry, electromagnetism, secret flows of life force, it all comes to strangely evoke the notion of mana; thus, in the margins of social conduct, an interaction of a different nature could be suspected, a billiard ball that some individuals sustain or suffer, a drama without Oedipus, without Rastignac, without Phaedra, a drama impersonal in the measure that the consciences and the passions of its actors only come to be compromised a posteriori. As if the subliminal levels were those that linked and unlinked the ball of yarn made up of the group of individuals compromised in the drama.
Or, to give the Swede his due: as if certain individuals affected the profound chemistry of others and vice versa, such that the most curious and inquieting chain reactions came to pass, fissions and transmutations. In such a situation, a genial extrapolation is enough to postulate a group of humans who believe themselves to react psychologically in the classic sense of that old, old word, but who don't represent anything more than an instance of that flow of inanimate material, of the infinite interaction of what we formerly called desires, sympathies, volitions, convictions, and which here appear as something irreducible to all reason and to all description: inhabiting, foreign forces that advance in an attempt to obtain their right to exist; a search superior to our own selves as individuals, that brings us together for its own ends, a dark necessity to evade the homo sapiens state, moving toward Because sapiens is another old, old word, one of those that must be deeply and thoroughly cleansed before attempting to use it with any certain meaning.
If I were to write that book, standard behaviors including those most bizarre, that most privileged category would be unexplainable through customary psychological instruments. The actors would appear insane or completely idiotic. They wouldn't show themselves totally incapable of the usual behaviors of challenge and response: love, jealousy, piety and so on; rather, in their persons, a thing that homo sapiens guards in the subliminal plane would open laboriously as a pathway, as if a third eye were laboriously blinking below the frontal bone.
Everythying would exist as an inquietude, an unease, a continuous uprootment, a territory where psychological causality would give way disconcertedly, and the puppets would destroy each other or love each other or acknowledge each other, only rarely suspecting that life attempts to change its key in and through and for them, that a hardly-conceivable attempt is being born in man as in other times were born the key-of-reason, the key-of-sentiment, the key-of-pragmatism.
That in each successive defeat there lies a rapproachment to the final mutation, and that man is not, rather he seeks to be, designs to be, grasping between words and behaviors and happiness splattered with blood and other rhetorics such as this. Cantar de Mio Cid by Anonymous The earliest consolidated version of the Cantar de Mio Cid was written sometime between the middle of the 12th century and the beginning of the 13th century.
This temporal proximity between his life and the events chronicled in this epic poem is rather unique in the tradition of epic poetry. In comparison, La Chanson de Roland, France's oldest surviving epic, was probably first written in the 11th century, but recounts events from nearly three centuries earlier; Homer's Iliad is also distant from the events of the Trojan War that it recounts.
What this means is that the voice of Rodrigo, the language he speaks and the language that is used in the telling of the Cantar de Mio Cid, is essentially the same language that El Cid and his men spoke in as they were committing their heroic deeds. I found this connection between history and epic poem to be exhilarating. And it had to be, considering that the earliest versions were sung by jesters in the very lands where El Cid lived, to a public familiar with his life and exploits.
This sort of public could tolerate embellishments for the sake of drama and entertainment, but the story had to remain faithful to the hero that they knew and loved. The public would have known of El Cid's youth and his service to King Sancho II, as well as the ups and downs of his relationship with Alfonso VI, who gained the throne after Sancho's assasination during the Siege of Zamora.
These events aren't mentioned in the Cantar de Mio Cid, which begins with the hero grieving his impending exile from Castilla. He's broke and dishonored, and has to say goodbye to his wife and daughters. The people of Burgos won't even open their doors to him, due to a letter from the King forbidding any contact with the disgraced hero. El Cid remains faithful to Alfonso despite his unfair exile his enemies in the court have conspired against him, convincing the King to banish him due to his supposed theft of tributes collected from conquered territories , and sets off with his faithful men to fight their way through southeastern Spain, conquering and collecting tribute from a series of towns culminating in their conquest of Valencia.
Special detail is given to El Cid's financial gains as he moves through the region, and he sends realistic amounts of horses and money to Alfonso in tribute and in recognition of his continued allegiance to his King. This documentation of the financial minutiae of El Cid's conquests, along with the repeated emphasis on how he's earning his living through his bravery and military acumen, is rather surprising in a genre not exactly known for verosimilitude. Alfonso is eventually won over by El Cid's heroic conquests and his repeated shows of loyalty, and agrees to end his forced exile.
This will bring honor to El Cid and increase his family's stature. What does El Cid do? First he calmly analyzes the situation, then he decides to litigate, litigate, litigate. He sends an emissary to the King, who calls a judicial court so that El Cid can present a formal accusation against the two infantes. I was extremely impressed that such a dramatic and heroic epic was written with such restraint. Supernatural and fantastic elements were wholly absent, and El Cid is portrayed as a thoughtful, prudent man.
Many historians believe that the original author of this text was a lawyer based on the rigor of the text's legal arguments and the importance given to thoughtful legal action in place of violent reprisals. Thanks for your superb review of A Model Kit , Matt. I'll read this, and Hopscotch , later this year. I hope you enjoy them both; Rayuela 's a book that I've read and re-read a lot over the years as I moved to different places, and it's always meant a lot to me.
I enjoy reading your reviews too, Matt, although most of the books are inaccessible to me. Please keep up the good work! Antonio Di Benedetto was born in Mendoza, and was a journalist as well as an author. His most famous novel, Zama, is considered a classic of 20th century Argentine literature, and he also wrote many collections of short stories. Wikipedia says that he was once involved in a diplomatic dust-up when he ended a ceremonial toast at a NATO meeting with the customary Spanish words "cin cin" clink clink , which offended the Japanese delegation chin chin is slang for penis in Japanese, apparently.
Wikipedia says that he was later prosecuted for this offense. Wikipedia also says "citation needed" after this statement, leading me to wonder if Antonio Di Benedetto was ever truly prosecuted for this offense, or if any of this ever happened at all. The Wikipedia article in Spanish contains more and more believable anecdotes.
Di Benedetto was persecuted and tortured by the Videla regime in the 70s, and lived in exile in Spain from and The first story is about a man who is accused of spitting up blood, but who proceeds to explain how the blood is not blood but instead butterflies.
Visor de obras.
He describes how he saw his donkey eating daisies and decided to try one himself. As he lifts the daisy to his mouth, a butterfly poses on it and he thinks, "why not this also? A second and third butterfly then voluntarily enter his mouth, perhaps in pursuit of the initial visitor. Even though they could fly back out his mouth is open, nothing is keeping them there , they choose to descend into his heart, where they make their home and have offspring.
These offspring, with the curiosity of youth, fly back up through his throat and exit through his mouth; unfortunately, raised in the darkness of his chest cavity, they are blind and flutter helplessly to the ground, where they are mistakenly interpreted as the bloody phlegm of a tubercular man. Nothing could be farther from the truth. All of the stories contain animals, and most are as bizarre and surreal as the first.
A mime has a large rat for whom he collects discarded crusts from white bread I had forgotten about the Argentine crustless sandwiches de miga, as well as my old ponderings concerning what Buenos Aires bakeries did with all those crusts ; a man travels to a land where the people don't know how to read and sells them books, teaching them to read so that they will need them. They prosecute him and condemn him to death, and a ball of millions of ants eats away his flesh, leaving him in bare bones.
Unsatisfied, the town obtains another mass of flying ants, who take pity on him and carry him off to another land where there are rivers of milk and wine. He chooses milk and his flesh is replentished. He moves on to wine and eventually decides to attempt to destroy theis new land's idols, and crafts bombs to drop on their monument to the deity of music. He is once again prosecuted in this new land. In another story, a man discusses with another man the capacity of all men to commit beastly acts perradas , like those that a dog would commit. The story then shifts to the man committing his own perrada, and then he's a dog, and getting into a fight with another dog.
A few months ago I read some books by an Ecuadorean author named Pablo Palacio, and I was impressed by how bizarre and twisted they were, and how effectively he was able to channel such strange perspectives. Reading his books reminded me of listening to Kool Keith albums when I was in high school, progressing from the slightly-deranged Keith of Ultramagnetic MCs through a series of increasingly insane alter egos Dr. Octagon, Dr. Dooom, Black Elvis, Clifton , using extremely rich and varied vocabulary to create raps that were different from almost all other rappers out there.
I'm pleased to find the same sort of intensity and penetration into different, hallucinatory perspectives in the work of writers like Palacio and now Di Benedetto. In the case of the stories in Mundo Animal, I thought that the interplay between human and animal worlds, with characters transforming from human to animal and animals thinking as humans think, allowed for some narratives that would make Kool Keith proud. My favorite story, for instance, was about a cat who lives in a movie theater, which he patrols for rats. The cat starts expounding about how he's been learning things, and how he sees these mothers telling their children not to pet him because it might be dangerous, and he thinks about if there were cats bigger than children, and the cats had to be warned not to play with the children; then he starts talking about how he's done things, about how one of the greatest movies, one that will be discussed in arthouses of the future, was actually written and produced by him; it's his work and future generations will know nothing of this, if only he could remember the pseudonyms he used and what the movie was called This may be the closest I've come.
I've really enjoyed cataloging my books on here and leaving reviews as I go I've enjoyed thinking about why I like the books I read, and how I think they relate to one another. Hi There I'm compiling a list of birthdays of our group members. If you haven't done so already, would you mind stopping by this thread and posting yours. Breton was an early champion of this book, which had very limited success from a sales standpoint copies were sold in its first year of publication out of an initial pressing of 1, Gracq was famous for being the first writer to turn down the Prix Goncourt, in , and I imagine that as he grew in stature and fame as a writer, more and more people discovered his first novel.
The second half of the s was an extremely volatile period in European politics, and as I read this book I tried and am still trying to make connections between the three characters and the prevailing political ideologies of the time, wondering if perhaps Gracq had intended the book to be a heavily-veiled political allegory representing the interaction in Europe between democracy, communism and fascism, complete with his own prediction of an inevitably violent clash between the three. It is never easy to predict what will happen once military action is underway, but it is hard to recall when uncertainties have been greater.
September 4, Is Legalization Possible? What factors are driving demographic trends in Latin America and the Caribbean? Uruguay, the smallest country in the region, has been the first, however, to openly rebel. By Juan Rada, Miguel A. What are the best practices for engaging citizens in the region through technology?
The Congress is in recess for five weeks, until early September. When lawmakers return, they will face a number of crucial battles, including on the budget. In such a polarized political environment, none of these will be easy. The drop-off was attributed mainly to a decline in Chinese lending to Venezuela. How important is Chinese lending to the region today? What does the decline in funding from China mean for Venezuela and the region as a whole? What will the future hold for Chinese lending to Latin America and the Caribbean?
The visit marked his first foreign trip as leader of the Roman Catholic church. Standing next to the pontiff, President Dilma Rousseff called for cooperation with the church to combat poverty and hunger. Why did Francis choose Brazil for his first foreign trip as pope? Was the trip a success, and for whom? Will the visit have any lasting consequences for Brazilian society, or the church's role in that country? July 30, China y EE. July 30, China and the U. July 27, Now What, Madam President? Paulo Although Brazilians love crowds, it was a great surprise to virtually everyone in Brazil when more than a million protestors showed up on the streets of more than cities.
Though he is now seeking temporary asylum from Russia, where he has been stranded in the Moscow airport, only a few nations, all in Latin America, have been openly receptive to his pleas. Why are some governments in the region so eager to thumb their noses at the United States? Are these protests isolated events with unique causes or are there threads that unify them? June 10, Where do Relations Between the U. Vice President Joe Biden called for stronger ties between the two countries.
Where do U. What factors and global trends have been driving these investments? Which countries fared best, and worst, in attracting foreign investment, and why? Will FDI in and continue to gain steam? What effect, if any, is the report having on the drug policy debate in the United States and in the region? In Colombia, authorities have warned the public of a plot by an organized crime group to kill several high-profile journalists. In Argentina, opposition leader and Buenos Aires City Mayor Mauricio Macri signed a decree "to guarantee protection to journalists and media in the city" as the government's ongoing dispute with country's largest media company has intensified.
What do these developments say about press freedom in the Americas? What are the most important trends that stakeholders government, businesses, civil society need to pay attention to? How has the evolution of social media and wider access to the Internet and communications technologies changed the debate over freedom of the press? May 23, A Tribute to Albert O. This is critical to ensuring that spending is adequately tailored to the changing needs of recipients instead of merely buttressing support for traditional officeholders.
In this regard, political and institutional factors are central in accounting for the relative success of social policy experiments throughout Latin America. How solid is Morales' support as he looks toward his next campaign? How strong is the opposition, and what could Morales' rivals do to gain an edge? Will Morales choose to make his last run for office? Maduro has voiced a desire for "respectful relations" with the United States, though Washington has still not recognized his government.
The United States has denied that it is considering sanctions against Venezuela, and Venezuelan authorities recently arrested a U. The State Department has denied any efforts to destabilize the Venezuelan government. Will U. What do Maduro's cabinet picks portend about the future of bilateral relations? May 1, Which Mexico for Obama? In a region once plagued by bloody coups and military interventionism, free and fair elections are now the norm.
At the same time, in a number of countries, political parties are weak and there has been erosion of checks on executive authority. La diferencia ahora, en el segundo periodo de su gobierno, es que Barack Obama no parece dispuesto a gastar tanto tiempo en tratar de mejorar las relaciones con gobiernos que han sido inamistosos con Washington. If Washington is unable respond to the opportunities in Mexico and the needs of Central America, it hard to imagine the US having any serious policy or strategy for the rest of Latin America.
Enlarging the proposed negotiations to include all three North American nations, Canada, Mexico, and the United States would create a unique, historic and much larger opportunity that has the potential to give a real boost to the economies of all of the nations involved as well as to the global economy. Opponents of the effort to block funding say the move would have neutralized the work of the commission, which has angered leftist governments of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, or ALBA. Do the ALBA countries have a legitimate gripe with the commission? By Jorge Heine, Peter M. Bachelet said that if elected to a second term in office, she would put income inequality at the top of her agenda.
Is Bachelet, who still enjoys high approval ratings in Chile, a shoo-in for another term? Who will give Bachelet her toughest competition in the race? What issues are driving the campaign? By Graciana del Castillo, Claudio Loser, and Christian Daude Source: Latin America Advisor Fitch Ratings last month joined two other major ratings agencies in giving Uruguay its coveted investment grade, a move that lowers the nation's borrowing costs and opens up opportunities for new investors. Meanwhile, Uruguayan Vice President Danilo Astori said recently that trade relations with neighboring Argentina are "at their worst point in a long time" in the wake of new taxes in Argentina on vacation packages abroad, which "greatly affects Uruguay" due to the high proportion of Argentine tourists in Uruguay.
How important are ties with Argentina to Uruguay's economic outlook? Considering the broader global economic picture, will investment-grade status bring Uruguay the benefits it expects? What priorities should the country's economic policymakers be focused on in the near- and mid-term? March 27, Post Chavez: Can U. This tribute should make Washington take a fresh look not only at its relations with Venezuela but also with all of Latin America. Jones Source: Latin America Advisor The lower house of Mexico's Congress gave its approval Friday to a measure to overhaul the country's telecommunications industry and sent the legislation to the Senate.
What would the overhaul mean for the industry and for Mexico's economy in general? Will the reforms win the needed legislative approval? Yet few, if any, contemplated the possibility that Chavez would end up leaving the political scene he so thoroughly dominated for 14 years as a result of a severe illness, at the age of While a reinvigorated Vatican engagement with the hemisphere is certainly not welcomed news by the LGBT community, the Pope is not the most imminent threat to equality in the Americas.
What is the state of Peru-China commercial ties today? What is driving the bilateral relationship, and what things stand in the way of improvement? Who stands to benefit or lose the most from expanding Peru-China ties? Venezuelans will not easily forget a leader who, for better or worse, was the consummate showman and left an indelible mark on a highly polarized society.
Venezuelans and the rest of the world wait and watch to see what happens with Hugo Chavez. Is he focusing the beginning of his presidency on the right goals? How might Mexico's local elections this July alter the current course? Paulo This year Brazil is witnessing the largest harvest in its history. The country will harvest million tons MT of grains and oilseeds, 11 percent more than in the previous year.
We became the first producer 84 MT and exporter 41 MT worldwide of soybeans. Sin sorpresas, Rafael Correa fue reelegido de manera aplastante en Ecuador. Not surprisingly, Rafael Correa won a landslide reelection in Ecuador. And in a move that caught many off guard, the apparently very ill Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez returned to Caracas from Havana. President Barack Obama said Jan. Obama's comments came a day after he presented his plan for immigration reform and just after a bipartisan group of senators presented their own plan.
What stands in the way of passing the legislation before July? Are the immigration reforms that would get through Congress likely to be significant enough to change the status quo? How might U. February 5, El gran paso con la reforma en EE. February 5, A big step for reform By Michael Shifter Source: El Colombiano Just three months ago, no one believed that it would be possible for the US Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform any time soon.
February 1, Have Prospects for U. What is on the horizon for U.
Chinese exports to the region grew 12 to 15 percent last year, and it "is now a strategically important market," he said. How significant is Latin America as an export destination for China? Are business and government leaders actively looking to the region to expand trade? Where is the Chinese economy headed next year and in the mid-term, and how will that affect Latin America?
As we look to , here are some of the trends to follow in the hemisphere's struggle for LGBT rights. By Marcelo Bergman, Eric L. How are the size, make-up and landscape of drug cartels changing? Are different populations, sectors or businesses likely to be affected by the violence in ? US election—unexpectedly—also turned out to be one of the most important events for the region in Bush father , defeated by Bill Clinton in Is Capriles well-positioned to remain the top opposition leader?
How would Maduro fare in a special election for the presidency against Henrique Capriles? McIlhenny cited a number of positive developments in Latin America that have been advanced by a U. Or are fears that the United States doesn't pay enough attention to the region and has lost its prominence well-founded? In addition to government, how do private sector and civil society initiatives factor in? Arab and Latin American nations can anticipate those changes and benefit from them, and could start building new partnerships.
But continuing questions about Chavez's health and the country's dismal governance suggest that change may be coming soon. External players should restrain from meddling during this period of uncertainty. Instead, support should focus on trying to ensure that Venezuelans continue to rely on the ballot box in determining the course of a country facing so many daunting problems.
It is surprising, then, that border disputes continually bedevil the region. Many of these tensions remain unresolved, and when they surface, as in the example of the Nov. Do any of Correa's rivals stand a chance of defeating him? What issues will matter to Ecuadoreans when they go to the polls? What would Correa seek to do in a third term?
It is, however, is fundamental to US diplomacy in this hemisphere, and the US should take a more active role in salvaging the institution. November 30, Why Are U. The senators said the OAS lacks a strategic focus, is too reluctant to make difficult financial decisions and is beset by "capriciously destructive personnel policies. What steps should the OAS take to strengthen itself? Evan Ellis, Margaret Myers, and Jeremy Martin This year, China continued to make inroads into Latin America's energy sector— including increasing its market share in the wind sector through competitive financing in Argentina, expanding solar development in Brazil and approving loan-for-oil deals in Venezuela.
How has Beijing's geopolitical strategy in terms of energy resources evolved in recent years? Do you expect any major changes or surprises for Sino-Latin ties in ? Sin embargo, hoy se torna muy importante comenzar a delinear una estrategia con miras a abordar la continuidad de las mismas una vez que el litigio haya concluido.
November 27, Colombia's Steps at the Hague By Michael Shifter Source: El Colombiano Nothing succeeds in bringing a nation together -- and in transcending sharp political differences -- than disputes over national territory. Immigration, Cuba, and drugs have always had an unusually high dose of domestic politics, and they still do, but results of the recent US elections suggest that obstacles to progress may be easing.
By Peter Hakim Source: Foreign Policy When the leaders of Mexico and the United States meet for the first time, they'll have a chance to make real progress on issues that have been stalled for decades. Where does the debate about drug policy in the United States and in the region appear to be headed? November 15, New U. It was an error that cost may have cost them the election. Romney and other Republican candidates not only ignored Latinos, but at times actively offended them by the tone and substance of their views on immigration.
By Viviana Giacaman, Benoit Hervieu, and Scott Griffen Source: Latin America Advisor Press freedom has been in the headlines recently, as a Bolivian radio journalist was set on fire in a brutal attack last month, and Mexico's government in July said that 67 journalists have been killed and 14 disappeared in the country since Is press freedom seriously jeopardized in these countries or elsewhere in the region? What implications does it have for the state of democracy?
Should regional bodies or other organizations be taking action? If so, how? Lowenthal Source: Folha de S. Will the new law dramatically reduce the country's notable inequality, as supporters assert? Or will it put a 'straitjacket' on universities, as a senator who voted against the bill claims?
What role does higher education play in Brazil's social and economic development? Does Brazil's debate over affirmative action have implications for other countries in the region? October 26, The final lap By Abraham F.
Mariana Romo-Carmona's Blog
Lowenthal Source: Folha de Sao Paulo. October 26, Will America Look South? President Barack Obama's omission of Latin America in his list of regions where relations with the US had improved in the past several years set off a burst of tweets among Latin Americans. What would a Romney administration mean for economic relations with the region? Could he successfully forge new free-trade agreements with Latin America?
How would a Romney victory alter the United States' relations with the region? Who were the big winners and big losers in the municipal elections? What effect will the municipal elections have on national politics in Brazil? An improved, more productive US-Brazilian relationship will require the two countries to identify issues and goals on which they are willing to commit themselves to sustained long-term cooperation.
But, for now, both nations seem comfortable with maintaining the status quom in their bilateral relations. Es duro de reconocer pero los hechos son los hechos. In , he soundly defeated his opposition challenger Manual Rosales. Chavez was then in sound health, his rhetorical powers were at their height, and he had ample resources thanks to high oil prices.
Though there the new government will face substantial challenges, Mexicans have tangible grounds for optimism, particularly about progress on critical reforms. Paulo The US presidential elections are six weeks away. President Barack Obama has begun to build an advantage in most of the decisive swing states, including Ohio, Virginia and Florida. September 21, Venezuela in Mercosur. What was Brazil Thinking? What made the Brazil government so eager to bring Venezuela into Mercosur remains a puzzle. Brazilian officials have made their case mostly on economic grounds, but the costs of bringing Venezuela into Mercosur could well turn out to be higher than the benefits.
Is Mexico gaining a competitive edge over China in terms of manufacturing? Or will other low-wage countries come to replace both China and Mexico as manufacturing destinations? What are the challenges and benefits of moving production facilities to Mexico? Can Mexico leverage the low cost of wages into more sustainable growth? The time has come for a resolute effort to achieve peace in Colombia, and there are reasons to be hopeful of success—although probably not quickly.
September 7, U. President Jimmy Carter said Thursday. Chile and Venezuela will be observers at the talks, which will begin in Oslo, Norway, and continue in Havana, Cuba. These are basic qualities in both human and international relations. We may have different visions of how to address the fundamental challenges facing us, but we will never be able to address them satisfactorily unless we return to basic civility and a willingness to cooperate to find solutions based on common values.
We must begin with a concern for the most vulnerable among us and a commitment to treat each individual with equity and fairness. This will provide in our western hemisphere a bright future — to all of us. The move came amid a shakeup in which Santos asked his entire member cabinet to resign, a not unusual practice in many countries of the region. Why did Santos call for the cabinet shakeup now?
Will the cabinet shakeup boost Santos' approval ratings? How progressive are revenue collection and social spending? A standard fiscal incidence analysis shows that Uruguay achieves a nontrivial reduction in inequality and poverty when all taxes and transfers are combined. In comparison with other five countries in Latin America, it ranks first poverty reduction and second inequality reduction , and first in terms of poverty reduction effectiveness and third in terms of overall including transfers in kind inequality reduction effectiveness.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, speaking from the Ecuadoran embassy in London, publicly thanked president Rafael Correa for granting him asylum. Combined with declining popular support for the President, the country is headed on a shaky path and the future remains unclear. We said that it was time for equality, which meant full entitlement to rights for everyone. What would be the economic risks and gains of building a canal across Nicaragua? Each improved three times faster than the average of the 49 countries included in the study.
Colombia was also among the top 10, improving at twice the average. This is encouraging news for education reformers, suggesting that sustained efforts to raise student learning are beginning to pay off. August 7, Romney's statesman debut By Michael Shifter Source: El Colombiano The US election is less than three months away, so it is not surprising that the campaigns have moved into high gear.
August 5, The incomplete revolution By Michael Shifter Source: El Deber Stagnation is the term that most frequently comes to mind in thinking about the current situation in Bolivia. The election of Evo Morales was symbolically important and raised high hopes in a country with a majority indigenous population that had long suffered considerable poverty and political instability. By Francisco Altschul, Mirte Postema, and Michael Shifter and Rachel Schwartz Source: Latin America Advisor A dispute between El Salvador's legislative and judicial branches escalated to a constitutional crisis this month, with two separate groups of judges claiming to be the country's legitimate Supreme Court.
After a stalemate and pressures both domestically and internationally to resolve the dispute, the two main political parties agreed to hold talks on July What is behind the conflict? Does the conflict have implications for the state of the country's democracy or is it fundamentally a political issue? How should it be settled? The presidents of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay agreed to allow the Andean country into the trade bloc after Mercosur suspended Paraguay, whose lawmakers had prevented Venezuela from joining the group.
What would Venezuela's entrance mean for it and for the current Mercosur members? Who are the winners and losers? Does allowing Venezuela into Mercosur through the loophole of Paraguay's suspension raise larger concerns about the bloc's operation, as critics of the move have suggested?
As Brazil's economy slows, however, experts debate whether Brazil will be able to recover its previous robust rate of expansion. His brother's in prison, his dad thinks he's a traitor, and almost everyone says his wife calls the shots. But he might still have a chance to turn the country around. The number of unsafe abortions—which represent about 95 percent of the total—grew from 3. Given the current divisiveness in Washington, the bipartisan support it has received across three administrations now seems remarkable.
After 12 years, the plan is gradually winding down, but the U. Where are political and economic relations between India and Latin America headed? What constraints are there to improving trade and how can they be remedied? Which countries and sectors present the best opportunities for growth? President Barack Obama after he announced an executive order to cease deportation of many immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children and the Supreme Court ruled on Arizona's immigration law.
July 20, The right must learn to love the state again By Francis Fukuyama Source: Financial Times When asked to contribute to this series on the future of conservatism, I hesitated because it seemed to me that in both the US and Europe what was most needed was not a new form of conservatism but rather a reinvention of the left. The reforms include lengthening the amount of time students must study to become primary school teachers from three years to five.
What is the state of education reform in Guatemala and the rest of Central America? Are teaching reforms needed in the region? If so, what changes are most critical? What other types of reforms should governments undertake? The decline was statistically significant and robust to changes in the time interval, inequality measures and data sources. In depth country studies for Argentina, Brazil and Mexico suggest two main phenomena underlie this trend: a fall in the premium to skilled labor and more progressive government transfers. Though trailing China in trade and investment, India has adopted a more cautious and well-informed approach to engagement with the region.
This approach likely more beneficial than China's in terms of long-term relationship-building in Latin America. How has China's involvement in Latin America's energy sector evolved? Will it expand beyond the countries and sectors where it has traditionally focused most of its energy investments? If so, where is it likely to go and how will that impact the sector? Washington no longer has the resources or authority to shape a hemispheric agenda and provide the leadership to put it into practice. The relationship remains stuck on the same issues: Cuba, immigration and drug policy.
According to the government, the measure is aimed at taking profits away from drug dealers and funding rehabilitation programs. What are the implications of Uruguay's proposal? How progressive are revenue-collection and social-spending patterns? June 28, A Campaign About Nothing By Michael Shifter Source: Foreign Policy On July 1, some 80 million Mexican voters will turn their backs on the drama and turbulence that has recently beset their country as they select a new president for the next six years.
The electorate will choose among three main candidates whose statements and policy positions have been notably cautious -- and who have been strikingly vague about what they would change in how the country is handling its most serious problems. Maisto Source: Latin America Advisor Paraguay's Senate on Friday voted , with two abstentions, to impeach President Fernando Lugo, who immediately moved out of the presidential residence. On Sunday, however, Lugo announced he will not recognize his former vice president, Federico Franco, as Paraguay's new leader. Who is the legitimate president of Paraguay?
Why are some countries recognizing Franco as the new president and others not? What compelled Congress to take action now, just nine months before scheduled elections, and is it a good thing for the nation? Will Paraguay's economy suffer as a consequence of the political turmoil? Vasquez Source: Latin America Advisor Q: Given the potential of significant oil reserves in Brazil and Venezuela, large shale gas discoveries, plummeting wind energy prices and other developments, some analysts are highly optimistic about the general energy outlook in Latin America.
Others cite opposition to hydro projects, vulnerabilities in energy-poor parts of the region, stagnation of oil production, unproved ultra-deep-water technologies and other hurdles as cause for major concern about the region's energy future. Are reasons for optimism weak? Or are pessimists underestimating the region's potential? What are the major trends in regional energy issues that we can expect in the period ahead, and how can possible solutions to problems best be reached?
It is one of many regional projects that have faced local and environmental opposition, but have also been cited as necessary to meet growing energy needs. Are mega hydropower projects like this doomed in Chile and elsewhere in Latin America? What energy sources will fill in the void if such projects don't come to fruition? How are anticipated consequences of climate change, such as drought, going to change the region's current and future hydropower infrastructure?
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said that the conference must achieve 'concrete decisions and agreements,' though some are skeptical that a global consensus on plans to combat climate change is likely to occur. Or will the agreement be 'so weak it is meaningless, or completely collapse,' as WWF director general Jim Leape predicted? What is Latin America's role in the global debate over climate change? How well are its cities and states preparing for climate change?
By Enrique V. He praised the business climates in Brazil and Chile and said Spanish companies would continue investing in the region. Which companies and countries are hurt by the woes in Europe, and which regional players are taking advantage of it the most? Was the king's visit to the region a success?
Why or why not? June 8, Remarks at Sol M. Will it make a difference for U. Foreign Policy? For Latin America? June 7, Globalization, Made in the Americas By Robert Zoellick Source: Remarks at the Dialogue's 30th Anniversary Gala A new hemispheric partnership requires leaving old habits, old mindsets, and old models of dependency behind. Last week, Mitt Romney amassed enough delegates to insure the Republican nomination. Attention is now focused on him. A recent poll says it is the most admired of this group.
And it has been selected as the site of both the World Cup and the Olympic Games. Its incredible rise in the past dozen years is due to many factors. Self-promotion is not among the most important. Jones, Andrew Selee, and George W. What types of legislative changes or reforms would result from PRI control of Mexico's presidency and both chambers of its Congress? Will the PRI re-establish the dominance that it enjoyed for seven decades? May 21, EUA debe aportar a C.
What is the threat? Who are you fighting? Are terrorists foreign or domestic? Military forces are trained to defend national sovereignty against external attack by a foreign enemy. They are not trained to deal with their fellow citizens. That is police work. In some countries, turning to the military for internal security evokes terrible memories of Cold War conflicts when repression sometimes became identified with military forces allied with the United States.
What is the outlook for trade between the regions? What specific countries and sectors will most likely flourish in the period ahead, and why? But the gang truce has left lawmakers and security experts in El Salvador and across the region grappling with a slew of unsettling questions. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the federal government's challenge to Arizona's controversial immigration law, which requires local police officers to check the immigration status of anyone suspected of being in the country illegally.
During oral arguments April 25, justices were skeptical of the Obama administration's arguments that Arizona overstepped its authority. How strong is the federal government's case? How might the outcome affect immigration policies and the future immigration debate? Will the high court's decision influence the U. What are the case's implications, if any, on the economies of the United States, Mexico and Central American countries?
Philip Hughes Source: Latin American Advisor Hundreds of indigenous Bolivians on April 27 began a second march to protest a controversial road through the Tipnis national park after President Evo Morales said the decision about the road's construction would be put to a vote by local communities. Meanwhile, the administration has faced strikes across the country in recent weeks from health workers, teachers, miners and other groups dissatisfied with working conditions and wages, some of which have turned violent.
What challenges does the government face in resolving the recent bouts of social unrest? What are the underlying causes of the conflicts and how should the administration be handling them? How well is Morales weathering the storm? May 8, Military Aid Is Unattractive, but Unavoidable By Michael Shifter Source: New York Times The spreading drug-fueled violence in Honduras — arguably the most troubled country in the Western Hemisphere — should be addressed through effective civilian law enforcement institutions, not military forces.
Strengthening such institutions should be the principal focus of U. Are lawmakers likely to approve the measure? Would an increase on the corporate tax rate, which was going to be lowered back to 17 percent in , harm the economy? Will the increased spending have a significant effect on ensuring access to better quality education? What more should the government be doing to address the unrest? Earlier this year, El Salvador was suffering about 18 killings per day. The news is linked to a March truce between the rival Mara Salvatrucha and Mara 18 gangs, allegedly brokered with government involvement, according to online Salvadoran newspaper El Faro.
Funes denied involvement in negotiating the truce, saying it was the action of the Catholic Church. What are the tradeoffs and dangers to negotiating such an agreement with gangs? Are other countries that are also facing historic levels of violence considering similar actions? What are the political and social ramifications of such a tactic?
Is it sustainable in the long run? Yet beyond the short-term political gains and the potential long-term economic risks for each country, the episodes may suggest the emergence of a broader trend: the decline of the relationship between Latin America and Spain. According to the report, the retailer failed to notify law enforcement of the evidence its investigators had uncovered, instead shutting down the internal probe. The retailer said it is aggressively investigating the allegations.
What do the allegations say about the state of doing business in Mexico? Is bribery a widespread cost of doing business in the country? Are Mexican laws and other regulations, such as the U. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, proving to be inadequate? Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy blasted Argentina's action, saying it lacked justification and was a 'negative decision for everyone. Yet we must bear in mind that Quevedo's purpose in writing his picaresque novel was to expose the hypocritical behavior of the stereotypical characters in his novel rather than to create flesh and blood characters.
He is no Fernando de Rojas or Miguel de Cervantes. The last chapter on La hora de todos is well done. It would have been interesting to learn Clamurro's point of view regarding La isla de los Monopantos episode which has attracted much attention from several scholars over the years. Clamurro has used many studies in preparing his book as is evident from the large bibliography and some explanatory notes found throughout the text.
He has generally provided useful analysis and suggestive thoughts in this work. Donald W. Bleznick University of Cincinnati. Evidence of this collection's diversity is the fact that it contains only one work, Manolo, that appeared in the earlier anthology of John Dowling Sainetes I. Madrid: Castalia, and has not a single play in common with M. Coulon's edition Sainetes. Madrid: Taurus, As the language of these playlets is at times abstruse to the modern reader, it is worthy of note that both Dowling and Coulon provide more explanatory notes than Lafarga.
Lafarga's edition contains one previously unpublished sainete , La merienda a escote , based on the only known manuscript of the play. First staged on February 4, to accompany the sixth part of Pedro Vayalarde, La merienda a escote , a mediocre comic piece, portrays the plays, complications, and ultimate failure of a proposed celebration.
Its primary interest lies in its depiction of the majos and majas of eighteenth-century Madrid. This anthology is more extensive by five and three respectively than the similar recent editions by Dowling and Coulon. However, the latter anthologists provide, in this reviewer's opinion, plays of more interest to eighteenth-century audiences as well as to present-day readers.
Lafarga's forty-two page introduction contains a sketch of the author's life and works, a brief commentary on each of the thirteen sainetes , an appendix identifying all the actors who appear in these playlets, and a very useful bibliography. Numerous critics, including Lafarga, have identified foreign sources for many of Cruz's sainetes some seventeen per cent of his output were adaptations from the French theater.
Nevertheless, the fact that he often based his one-act comic pieces on foreign plays taints his image as a defender of traditional Spanish values against the influx of foreign taste and ideas. It is also ironic that Cruz apparently had more success staging his adaptations than he did his original sainetes Coulon, Edward V. Coughlin University of Cincinnati. Seduced by a new vision of personal freedom and the individual self brought about by Liberal and Romantic ideas, they were eager to write about themselves.
But they were doubly constrained by a Spanish tradition that forbade them personal freedom and self-expression, and by new Romantic models that portrayed women either as objects of desire or as symbols through which male fears and aspirations were represented.
When Spanish women writers began to explore their complex feminine selves, and discovered how removed these were both from traditional domestic roles and from literary models, they were on new and dangerous ground. Deep conflicts and contradictions were reflected in their writings. Kirkpatrick's Introduction traces the vast changes that swept over social and economic structures in Europe and Spain during the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. Chapter 1 investigates how these changes shaped a new tradition of writing and subjectivity. Kirkpatrick concludes by evaluating the significance of this brief period of brilliance in Spanish women's writing.
The Index is a model of its kind and will benefit readers, students and scholars. This elegantly written and edited study is part of a trend in Spanish feminist studies, which in earlier phases were bio-bibliographical, or focused on a limited number of Spanish women authors and individual works. It also offers subtle, sensitive and often brilliant close readings of texts written by Spanish Romantic authors of both genders.
Thus the women writers alluded to in the title, who as individuals have received a great deal of critical attention, are now placed in their proper historical and artistic contexts within a larger Spanish and European tradition. In addition, Kirkpatrick's research in heretofore unknown Spanish primary sources brings to light a literary canon that invites further exploration. Kirkpatrick's book deserves to be read not only by its natural audience of Hispanist and feminist scholars, but by anyone interested in the history of ideas and creative influence.
Ofelia L. Alayeto University of San Francisco. Reading La Regenta shifts authority conventionally attributed to the author or narrator to the fragmented and duplicitous texts that undermine the novel's presumed representationality. Sieburth uses this textual war to explain the tension resulting from the novel's other conspicuous dichotomies such as high vs.
La Regenta , then, is cast as a battle for the control of meaning in which two warring literatures infiltrate and contaminate each other. On a first reading of La Regenta , the narrator's sane world view seems to embrace wholeheartedly classic values at the expense of folletinesque Vetustan mores, but on subsequent readings the narration's ironic juxtapositions and mises en abymes serve to destabilize the narrative point of view. La Regenta subverts the narrator's attempts to fix stable meanings through its use of doubling, systematic self reflexivity and mise en abyme.
The notion of competing literary genres is compelling, and the parallels drawn with the Quijote and other classical texts are insightful. The dichotomous relations she studies are not only value laden in La Regenta ; in an unrecognized repetition of the novel's story, Sieburth's story perpetuates the value system that she studies, a fact that, unfortunately, she does not discuss. But because its principal conclusion has the potential to provoke controversy, the author should have explored in a general discussion the implications of an entropic reading of the novel that is, of any novel.
We, like Ana, would be doomed to silence. Urey, John Rutherford, Harriet S. Turner, Stephanie Sieburth, Elizabeth D. Rogers y Laura Rivkin. De los catorce ensayos de que consta el volumen, ocho se ocupan de La Regenta. The volumes under review, in conjunction with their elaborate and painstaking editorial apparatus, bring for the first time to general readers and scholars the complete body of her production in the genre and a goodly amount of valuable bibliographical information. Aficiones peligrosas , as well as of his anthology of her stories for Taurus.
Moreover it may be considered the complement of Harry L. Both Kirby and Paredes agree in organizing the uncollected stories in thematic subsets. These indices should help locate stories more clearly remembered for their plot and character than for their bibliographical source information. Easy access to reliable texts is the basis of the broadened appreciation of any writer. And when this task is accomplished for the work of a major author, it is much more important and useful.
If anything, the stories, as a whole, seem less responsive to the changing socio-aesthetical world than do the novels. The monograph comprises an introduction, six chapters, a conclusion, an afterword and a highly selective bibliography. Thus, a totally new perspective of the texts is obtained. Six reminds the reader of how the word Utopia has been misunderstood as a result of misreadings of Thomas Moore.
Thus, the chaotic structure of Goytisolo's novels underscores the fact that creativity need not be ordered. Six's prose is concise and lucid without the rhetoric so fashionable in the past two decades -jargon which does not produce serious inquiry but gives the impression of complexity and depth without making a substantial contribution to scholarship. The monograph is recommended to all those interested in Goytisolo's oeuvre and should be a great help to future scholars of this important Spanish writer.
Genaro J. The relatively small number of books written by Esther Tusquets has already generated an unusually prolific critical response. Her major works appeal to a wide variety of tastes: those who seek a feminist perspective, postmodern tendencies, or sociocultural reflections on contemporary Spanish life -to mention three of the most predominant themes- are not disappointed with her fiction. Given this context, it is surprising to learn that no full-length study on her works has been published until now.
The Sea of Becoming makes up for this deficiency with studies on all book-length works except La conejita Marcela , a book for children. Two articles focus on her first and best known novel. Kathleen M. Glenn presents the various functions of art in El mismo mar de todos los veranos and points out the various literary techniques which join art and the narrator's life. Stacey L. Dolgin interprets the aesthetic of eroticism in Tusquets's second novel, El amor es un juego solitario : sexuality and fictional process interpret in their techniques of game-playing and liberating elements.
A psychic identity joins the main characters who are different females in each piece, but who share the name of Sara ; autobiographical elements and repeated literary devices further link the females. By far the greatest attention is lavished on Para no volver : five different perspectives on this latest novel engage in a fascinating dialogue on Tusquets's evolving novelistic art.
Luis F. Two studies take the lines from the epigraph as a point of departure: for Catherine G. Only one article Mary S. This feature may introduce Tusquets to a wider audience, encourage scholars to study her as a fine example of contemporary writing and hence to give her a rightful place in international letters as well as to incorporate her works in women's studies courses. This collection will be a valuable asset for anyone interested in exploring Tusquets's literary world in particular or in pinpointing some of the issues of concern in contemporary letters.
Since many of this author's themes tend to surface time and again, the reader will profit by all the material in these studies, which serve both as an excellent introduction and as a serious scholarly contribution to the study of Tusquets's literature. Margaret E. Jones University of Kentucky. In this collection of studies presented at an Ohio State University symposium ten years after Francisco Franco's death, the outstanding scholars disagree about several aspects of the transition from dictatorship to democracy, including when it started and how much has changed.
Obviously, the range of subjects treated expanded after the dictator's death, as did the literature from what were later called the autonomous states. Instead, he suggests a comprehensive review of all aspects of Spanish nationalism. She attributes much cinematic success to new policies which ended censorship, provided government subsidies to the Spanish film industry, and increased the distribution of Spanish films abroad. He praises Operation Rescue, which staged earlier twentieth-century works which were prohibited after , and Operation Recovery, which recovered works written and prohibited during Franco's regime.
This, in his view, has exacerbated problems and lowered the quality of theatrical productions. Overviews of the novels, poetry, and painting of transitional Spain were written by Ignacio Soldevilla Durante, Philip Silver, and Vicente Cantarino, respectively. The novel lost ground to informative historical texts and the print media, as people were able to read uncensored reports of events. Silver discusses the these directions poetry has taken: classical, surrealist, and confessional.
Trends in the plastic arts are also eclectic, and there is less interest in figurative art. The inclusion of the latter is particularly puzzling, since the works studied were produced prior to the Spanish Civil War. While the translations from Spanish to English are generally adequate, they are sometimes awkward and on occasion include confusing Latinisms or are grammatically incorrect. These minor shortcomings are far outweighed by the perceptive views expressed. This book, an important contribution lo the literary and artistic history of the s, will appeal to Spanish majors, to their professors, and to historians alike.
Eunice D. Myers Wichita State University. Initial readings of his books present him as a romantic seer or pastoral bard whose visions appear -spontaneously and unmediated- as he communes ecstatically with nature. More recent readings find in his texts an awareness of the fickleness of language, and a sense that its structure and figural deferrals form a cul-de-sac from which there is no escape.
Mayhew has set himself two goals. In this respect, I wholeheartedly recommend Chapters 1 and 6 for their clarity, breadth and freshness. In each chapter, many of the important poems of each book are analyzed in detail. The titles or first lines of these poems will be found in the Index. Mayhew's readings of the poems he has selected for analysis are always dense and challenging.
It is therefore a pity that the finished product is marred by such sloppy proof-reading of spelling, syntax, and translation. John C. Wilcox University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. After the Marquesa's death, Sor Juana was able to transfer this deep and troubled affection to a succeeding viceroyal wife, the Condesa de Paredes.
Indeed throughout the book, Urbano insists on the very secular, often physical, nature of the love that Sor Juana expressed in her poetry. The book invites, sustains, and rewards a reader's attention on many other counts as well. The authority and conviction with which Urbano writes lead her to stress certain well-known facts of Sor Juana's life and baroque consciousness in ways that solidify the book's central thesis: Sor Juana's love of learning could only be cultivated in a convent, and her unconventional human love could only be expressed in poetry.
Steadily infusing her argument with historical and cultural observation on colonial Mexico, Urbano writes with a tone now challenging and scolding, now personal and fond. Bart L. Jorge J. Long Brazil's best selling novelist at home and abroad, Jorge Amado b. Thus, the present volume fills a very real void, symbolically blending this longstanding need with a selective, chronological analysis, characterized by clarity of exposition, critical balance and a sharp awareness of the extratextual relevance of the author's life and times.
Emphasis is on Amado's later works, which coincide, as well, with those translations best known to his English-language audience. Once past preface and chronology, Chamberlain presents his corpus in seven straightforward chapters, often subdivided by qualifying headings. The first chapter is introductory, overviewing all the author's fiction most germane of which are his twenty-one novels in a biographical and bibliographical context.
Chapters 3 to 6 focus on five books belonging to the novelist's later period, whose different style is specifically examined at the outset. Chamberlain then delves into particulars, initially around the watershed Gabriela, cravo e canela , its use of chronicle parody and the portrayal of the numerous female personages around whom the novel is structured. Chapter 4 encompasses Os velhos marinheiros , a pair of novelettes published under one cover, where the author's increasing use of double perspective is scrutinized. The next chapter centers around Dona Flor e seus dos maridos , its sociopolitical symbolism and possible allegory.
In addition, Chamberlain analyses Amado's stylized inclusion of recipes and menus, his mention of numerous real-life figures in this and later novels, as well as his frequent recourse to supernatural characters and events. In chapter 7, Chamberlain synthesizes his findings, and those of others, intent on drawing some tangible conclusions with regard to the controversy surrounding Amado's later pieces, a factor central to the appreciation of his overall fiction.
Chamberlain astutely leaves the question open-ended, concluding with an appeal for continued reevaluation of the controversy and modestly offering the present study, not in definitive terms, but rather as groundwork for future investigation. An ample note section and annotated bibliography, the latter broken down into book, article and unpublished dissertation sources, ensue, followed by the closing index. From my perspective Jorge Amado is a unique and objective tool for specialist and aficionado alike.
For the first time, it coherently brings together, in English and in an accessible, professional yet nonpedantic style, both the most salient observations of Amadian critics worldwide as well as Chamberlain's own fascinating views. The result of such exhaustive research is easily the best single piece of Amadiana so far published, in any language, and one sure to encourage increased interest, as much in the novelist's works as in the critical debate surrounding them. Although Borges has been the subject of many bibliographies, other reference books in regard to his life and work have been slow to come.
Now with his death and the number of his writings known, more reference books will be created to facilitate the apprehension of this often-puzzling author. One guide of this nature, the present volume, portends the emergence of further scholarly tools. The compilers, anticipating user needs, define the limits of their work. Unfortunately, the authors, unable to encompass the entirety of Borges, applied these guidelines only to Ficciones , El Aleph and El informe de Brodie The compilers have added the caveat that they only try to provide factual information and make no effort at interpretation.
However, much is left for contemporary or future scholars. As was suggested earlier, the main corpus of the author's work is yet to be explained in a dictionary format. A forerunner to this ideal reference book is Daniel Balderston's The Literary Universe of Jorge Luis Borges , an index to persons, titles and places. And although Balderston gives much less information per item than the present reference, he has included many more of Borges's titles and has over 11, entries. Fischburn and Hughes, along with their predecessor Balderston, have indeed been seminal in regard to non-bibliographical reference books on Borges.
However, given the Argentine's influence and even predominance in the twentieth century, a reference book of much greater scope is needed. Richard D. Woods Trinity University. This brief study usefully brings together information on all matters in the area of overlap between Borges studies and Jewish studies.
After The Aleph Weaver , Alzenberg turned to the set of issues that was at one time dealt with through the critical conventions of influence studies. This area of studies had lately been enlivened by, on the one hand, the concept of intertextuality, with texts engaged in a perpetual conversation, and, on the other, Harold Bloom's vision of literary history as an increasingly tortuous struggle by new writers to wrest a space for themselves from their all-too-present predecessors. In several articles, Alzenberg worked variants on some of Bloom's leads, making good use of her knowledge of Jewish concepts of the text, and it is to be hoped that she will produce a book-length study along these lines.
Meanwhile, she has edited Borges and His Predecessors , essays ranging in approach from influence and precursor studies to examinations of intertextuality and the questions raised by most famously Bloom. Filer and, of more recent vintage, Alzenberg. Morello Frosch and Filer both had the excellent idea of looking at Borges's relation to the work of authors whose resemblance to him is not immediately apparent. Analyzing uses of Borges by Argentine writers of the s and s, Morello-Frosch combines acute observations on particular texts with a broader meditation on historically motivated shifts in the outlook of Argentine intellectuals, particularly in their critical assessment of the nation's culture.
The authors selected are, in general, offering ironic reprises of familiar thematic and stylistic Borgesisms. Filer is less concerned with cultural context than with texts' implied statements about textuality as she looks at Borges in the work of two non-Argentines, Salvador Elizondo and Severo Sarduy. Like Morello-Frosch, Filer obtains fine results working from the premise that later writers confront Borges whether they opt to continue his project, to attempt to abort it, or to use elements of that project against Borges's original intentions.
Barrenechea's lead article, though a bit brief, usefully sketches out aspects of Borges that mostdraw successors. Alazraki gives a laudably plain explanation of the much-remarked parallelism between Borges's implied theoretical propositions and twentieth-century formalisms. Rapaport deserves praise for his step-by-step, unpretentious examination of Borges and Paul De Man; O'Sullivan, too, shows respect for logic as he views Borges and Michel Foucault. Lalhacar and Collin will be best appreciated by those with a taste for poetic ambiguity in criticism.
Inevitably, there is some unevenness. Jerry Varsava and Geoffrey Green are conscientious analysts, but face the inherent disadvantage that the writers they juxtapose with Borges Italo Calvino and recent U.
The final section allows Alzenberg to combine her familiarity with Jewish styles of thinking about textual issues with her knowledge of Borges. She coordinates the ideas Borges derives from Judaic tradition with the idiosyncratically Jewish thought infused into literary theory and criticism by Derrida, Geoffrey Hartman, Bloom, et al. This fine piece opens, rather than exhausts, its topic. The volume closes with two Borges essays that may take some imagination to see as being about successors: on Job and Spinoza.
Borges and His Successors manages the unusual feat of being unfailingly interesting throughout its diverse parts. Beyond its contribution to Borges scholarship and studies of literary relations, it can be recommended as simply a great read. Naomi Lindstrom University of Texas at Austin. Por todo ello este libro es lectura recomendada. Salvador A. Oropesa University of Hawaii at Manoa. Both known and lesser-known writers are interviewed.
Open interviewing structures of this kind have obvious advantages, one being the relative lack of ideological superimposition. Since care is taken to fill in biographical information, the interviews provide good reference to the chronology of the writer's life and works.
So much critical work has remained to be done in Mexican theater that it is a pleasure to see the appearance of a book dedicated solely to playwrights' voices. Similar exposure of the public element -professional affiliations, editorial considerations- may also be found in Escritores The writers in Escritores The conceptual nature of his framework leads to comments which are indeed personally revealing and compelling, with or without autobiographical commentary.
One example of an interview in which the open-ended question works more against the author than for her is with Elena Poniatowska who, in an effort to record the facts, verbally lists the titles, historical referents and characters or story lines of all her books. On one hand, the very fact that she responds with a list of historical referents reveals a significant characteristic of her literary focus; on the other hand, the reader gleans very little else from the story about this woman who is herself a dedicated and provocative teller of other people's stories.
Precisely because of the focus, however, the resulting anecdotal style and the relative lack of conceptual framework on the part of both the interviewer and interviewee may ultimately be somewhat disadvantageous for the reader unfamiliar with the Mexican works discussed here. Second, the question arises as to whether the specific comments imparted in these conversationally-styled autobiographies are persuasive or engaging without some prior conceptual understanding of or empathy for the authors interviewed. Whatever the considerations one might raise here, both Dramaturgos Of the many monographs published on Mario Vargas Llosa's works, Roy Charles Boland's is one of the two or three most original and informative.
Boland states that although Vargas Llosa has, in interviews, alluded to his fascination with Freud, and that although critics have mentioned Freudian elements in Vargas Llosa's novels, these elements have never before been treated in depth. After reading Boland's clear, perceptive analyses, most readers will wonder why this Freudian approach was not taken years ago. The critic further explains that the Oedipal struggle between the Peruvian masses and the army, church, and oligarchy. Thus in the former Alberto and Richi lose the patricidal struggle and end up symbolically castrated, Alberto by the military establishment an Richi by his father, whereas Jaguar wins the struggle when he cuckolds his godfather.
There is very little to criticize in this excellent study. Boland tends to repeat himself, increasing the lengh of his study -the number of pages in the book is misleading because the pages are large and the print small. But the end result is a highly recommended, brilliant analysis of one of today's most important writers. George R. McMurray Colorado State University. Cocuyo demands much of the reader. It follows in the same kaleidoscopic, experimental tradition seen in earlier Sarduy fiction, but it is less chaotic than his novel, Cobra.
Todo asqueaba. Pero en el fondo There are moments of chronological disorder, especially in Chapter 11, when a Spanish colonial slave market takes place while Soviet experts disembark in Havana's harbor. Cocuyo is one of Sarduy's most accessible novels. It moderates his earlier tendencies and provides recognizable experiences that anyone who has passed through puberty can identify. Harley D. Oberhelman Texas Tech University.
The forging of a new category of magical realism is one of several perspectives from which Hart approaches her presentation of the fiction of Isabel Allende. Surprisingly Hart concludes that De amor y de sombra remains a magically feminist novel given its use of magic to call into question the role of women in Latin America But the argument is diluted by another of Hart's contentions, namely that throughout Allende's work, magic is used to question the entire concept of magical realism as a vehicle for discussing the problems of Latin America.
The hypothetical readings of Allende's texts, and the rhetorical questions raised 29 are, by far, too conjectural and lacking in theoretical support suppositional markers such as probably, perhaps, if, surely, may be abound to resolve postulates. Perhaps the most serious problem presented in the text, however, may be summed up in the frequent incursions into authorial intentionality.
This is a work, however, that a student might best read as an introduction rather than as a culmination to studies in the fiction of Isabel Allende. Sandra M. Boschetto Michigan Technological University. Splintering Darkness: Latin American Women Writers in Search of Themselves represents a welcome addition to the growing bibliography of works focusing on the increasing importance of Third World women writers.
While Bassnett emphasizes the historical contribution of women to Latin American culture, the Guerra Cunningham compilation is, instead, theoretical. It marks a conscious attempt to develop an alternative feminist critical discourse as opposed to hegemonic discourse and to deconstruct the mechanism and myths of the dominant system. Paradigm of the primal colonial literary scene, it is inverted by Partnoy in order to privilege the colonized. Manzor-Coats shows how Partnoy questions both the privileged place of the traditional Chronicler-Narrator of the Other and intra- and extra-textual power relations.
Gabriela Mora's essay on La nave de los locos shows how the Uruguayan Cristina Peri Rossi revalorizes marginal voices. Through an Erasmian inversion of the conventional meaning assigned to folly and madness, Peri Rossi defamiliarizes traditional concepts of masculinity, power, and authority. As Mora suggests, Peri Rossi argues that in a society where torture and degradation are authoritatively sanctioned, it is the marginal, the ex-centric, the fool who must sail, however painfully, in search of harmony.