Saturday, December 31, 2005

Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (The New Yorker)

The septuagenarian Gabriel García Márquez, while he is still alive, has composed, with his usual sensual gravity and Olympian humor, a love letter to the dying light.
A review of Memories of My Melancholy Whores by John Updike in The New Yorker
You can find the complete review here.

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The House of Paper by Carlos Maria Domínguez

In "The House of Paper," the Argentine writer Carlos María Domínguez has written a wonderfully amusing account of how books can dominate the life of the inveterate collector.
A review by Alexander McCall Smith in the New York Times. You can find the article here.

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Hopscotch by Julio Cortazar

In 1963, Júlio Cortazár achieve world fame with the publication of Rayuela, and became one of the main figures of the Latin American literary boom.
This book works as some kind of proto-hipertext, and Cortazár surprises the reader by having a "Table of Instructions" where he explains that "In its own way, this book consists of many books, but two books above all."
To start reading we're presented with two options, to read the book in the normal way up to the chapter 56, or follow the order indicated at the end of each chapter, going back and forward, starting from chapter 73.
The key character is Horacio Oliveira a bohemian argentine living in Paris, and his girlfriend "La Maga". The book presents episodes of Oliveira's life independent of the chronological order, complemented with philosophical and literary meditations.
The book it's hard to read, but once you're in to it, it's also hard to leave.

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Friday, December 30, 2005

The writer and his translator - Mayra Montero and Edith Grossman

The Washington Post published last Sunday a conversation between translator Edith Grossman and the Cuban novelist Mayra Montero.

Grossman is a best known Spanish to English translator, including works by Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, Ariel Dorfman, Álvaro Mutis and Cervantes.
She as translated some of Montero's novels ("The Last Night I Spent with You/La última noche que pasé contigo", "Deep Purple/Purpura Profundo" and "Captain of the Sleepers/El Capitan de los Dormidos").
You can find the article here.

Find Edith Grossman's Translations at

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Mario Mendoza (Colombia)

Related Posts:
Satanás by Mario Mendoza (Review)

1992 - La ciudad de los umbrales;
1995 - La travessia del vidente;
1998 - Scorpio City;
2001 - El viaje del loco Tarfur / Relato de un asesino;
2002 - Satanas;

1995 - National Literature Award by the Instituto Distrital de Cultura y Turismo de Colombia;
2002 - Biblioteca Breve Award for Satanás;

Find Mario Mendoza's Books at

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (The Sydney Morning Herald)

"One can't help feeling that, in the past, this story would have been reduced to a pithy few pages woven into a much more ambitious scheme.
Yet there is something haunting about this fable, and it stays in the memory long after you've turned the last page. There's life in the old man yet."

A review of Memories of My Melancholy Whores in The Sydney Morning Herald
You can find the complete review here.

Buy Memories of My Melancholy Whores at

Related Posts:
Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (SPLALit Review).

In Mexico, young authors look beyond El Boom

An interview with David Toscana, Ignacio Padilla, Mario Bellatín and Mónica Lavín, published in the San Francisco Chronicle.
You can find the article here.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Books, literary polemics, satanic governments and Mexican migration

An interesting report of the Latin American International Book Fair (FIL), by Kent Paterson, starting with the question:
Where can one find the Holy Bible, lucha libre, Che Guevara, bracero stories, children's fairytales, and narco-corridos all in one place? (...)
Polemics enlivened the literary conclave, in one instance sparked by Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa warning Mexicans not be seduced by "populism." The South American literary star's rejoinder was immediately interpreted as an attack on the Mexican presidential candidacy of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, prompting a sharp rebuke by Mexican writer Elena Poniatowska, who declared that Vargas Llosa should mind his own business.

More controversy permeated the FIL when the family of the late, famed Mexican author Juan Rulfo demanded that their relative's name be removed from the fair's prestigious literary award because of disagreement over how the prize is being awarded, which this year went to Spanish-born Mexican writer Tomas Segovia. Rulfo's family also was miffed by negative comments Segovia reportedly made about Juan Rulfo. Countering that his words had been misunderstood, Segovia told television personality Carmen Arestegui he didn't look for the award.

You can find the article here.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Budapest by Chico Buarque (Review)

Chico Buarque is the author of some of the best Brazilian songs ever written, and he's becoming also one of the best Brazilian fiction writers.
I liked Turbulence and Benjamin, but in Budapest Chico Buarque takes is writing to another level, this is the best of is books and one of the best of the last years.
Budapest tells the story of José Costa, a ghostwriter that returning from a congress in Istanbul spends a night in Budapest and falls in love with the Hungarian language.
This man will become some sort of linguistic emigrant; José Costa becomes Zsoze Kósta a man divided between Rio de Janeiro and Budapest, between Vanda and Kriska, between Portuguese and Hungarian.

Buy Budapest at

Juan Rulfo Latin American and Caribbean Literary Award - 2005

This year's edition of the Latin American International Book Fair (FIL) in Guadalajara started with the awarding of the Juan Rulfo Latin American and Caribbean Literary Award to the mexican poet and essaist Tomás Segovia.
You can find the article here.

Blindness by Jose Saramago (Review)

A man waiting at stoplight is struck blind. This "white blindness" epidemic spreads like a wildfire. Isolated, in quarantine, or lost around the city, the blind must face the most primitive of human nature: the struggle to survive at any price. José Saramago, winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize for Literature, builds a parable about the human being, that holds the most sublime and miserable in every one of us.
Saramago draws a dreadful picture of our society: the sectarism, the violence, the cynicism of the politicians and the egoism. We can even identify some historical and literary references: the Nazi concentration camps, The Plague by Albert Camus, the modern city before a catastrophe, the strange figures of Bosh and Dürer, the Biblical vision of the blind leading the blind.

Buy Blindness at

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Review)

Ten years after his last novel (Of Love and Other Demons) Gabriel García Márquez, winner of the 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature, returns with Memories of My Melancholy Whores, the story begins when a ninety year old journalist, that went with a woman he didn't pay for, decides to celebrate his anniversary spending a night with a young virgin.
This night turns into a year of a contemplation of the 14-year-old girl sleeping, and the memories of brothel adventures and a boring life of a local paper journalist.
Inspired in Yasunari Kawabata's House of the Sleeping Beauties, García Márquez builds a novel about a man who chooses lust to prove himself that he is alive and ends up with an unexpected and surprising love story.

Buy Memories of My Melancholy Whores at
Buy House of the Sleeping Beauties at

Gabriel Garcia Marquez will be the honnor guest of the Hay Festival/Cartagena

The event will be held for the first time in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, between 26 and 29 January.
Invited writers include, among others, Sergio Ramírez, Javier Cercas, Hanif Kureishi, Carmen Posadas, Fernando Savater, Vikram Seth, Ali Smith, Enrique Vila-Matas, William Ospina, Eugenio Montejo, Alma Guillermoprieto, Francisco Goldman, Roberto Fontanarrosa, Jorge Franco, Edgardo Cozarinsky, Óscar Collazos, Marina Colasanti, Belisario Betancur.
You can find the article here.

Find Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Books at

SPLALit - Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Literature and Culture

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Three Nobel prizes and six other writers ask for the end of the process against Orhan Pamuk

Three Nobel prizes and six other writers ask for the end of the process against Orhan Pamuk
José Saramago, Gabriel García Márquez, Günter Grass, Salman Rushdie, Umberto Eco, Carlos Fuentes, Juan Goytisolo, John Updike and Mario Vargas Llosa expressed their support for the Turkish author Orhan Pamuk, charged with insulting Turkey's national character, that will be brought before an Istanbul court on 16 December 2005 and facing up to three years in prison.

You can find the article here (in spanish).

SPLALit - Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Literature and Culture

Satanás by Mario Mendoza (Review)

In December 4th 1986 Campo Elias Delgado, murdered 29 people in Bogotá, Mario Mendoza who had met him in college took fifteen years to tell the story of this man.
But Satanas is not about this murder; it's about Bogotá, with very peculiar characters. A beautiful and naïve woman how involved in a scam to rip off high executives, a painter inhabited by mysterious forces, and a priest fighting against a case of demoniac possession in La Candelaria, Bogotá's colonial quarter - stories evolving around the story of Campo Elias, Vietnam war hero, starting a descent to hell, obsessed by the duality of good and evil, between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, that will turn into a extermination angel. Satanas is a novel about the dark presence of evil in everyday life.
The scenery is a shredded landscape, today's Colombia, and a city Bogotá, who's streets, the characters of this novel, wander erratically, condemned to expiate a unending guilt, in witch moving scenes mingle with others of raw violence.
Winner of the Premio Biblioteca Breve 2002, Satanas confirms Mario Mendoza as one of the best writers of the new Colombian fiction, set apart from the magical realism and discovering new voices for a new reality.

Buy Satanas at

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