Review Of "Marginal Voices: Selected Stories" By J. R. Ribeyro, Translated By D. Douglas

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Peru's Mario Vargas Llosa has cast a very large shadow across his country's literary landscape. Gabriel García Márquez has had a similar impact in his native Colombia. As a result of such a phenomenon the work of many excellent writers can too often go unnoticed, particularly abroad where translations of their work can be minimal or even nonexistent. The present volume performs an invaluable service by making available to English-language readers a representative selection of short stories by Ribeyro, the Peruvian whom Vargas Llosa himself calls one of Latin America's best storytellers. The 15 stories collected here were written between 1952 and 1975 and published originally in three volumes titled La palabra del mudo ("The Mute's Word"). All of these tales, set in such disparate places as Ayacucho, Lima, Paris, Frankfurt, Prague, Warsaw, and Madrid, depict a culturally diverse world whose inhabitants nonetheless share in common a life that always falls far short of their expectations and illusions. Ribeyro's characters in the best of these stories are unforgettable for the dignity with which they confront life's prejudices and solitude. Although in a few tales--particularly those that have Peru as their principal setting--the author's presence can be a bit heavy-handed, there are several undeniable literary gems, including "Nothing To Do, Monsieur Baruch," "The Captives," and "The Jacaranda Trees." Very good translations by Douglas. Undergraduate (all levels); graduate; faculty; general.


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