Walking Words

Eduardo H. Galeano, Author, Mark Fried, Translator, Jose Francisco Borges, Illustrator W. W. Norton & Company $23 (328p) ISBN 978-0-393-03782-1
Best known for his mythopoetic three-volume history of the Americas, Memory of Fire, Galeano brings intense lyricism, subversive humor and spellbinding storytelling to this assemblage of tales, fables and parables. Drawing on Latin American folklore, popular beliefs, legends, Christian and Native American sources, he gives his imagination free rein. In ``Story of the Lizard Who Had the Habit of Dining on His Wives,'' Dulcido devours one wife after another until he meets his fatal love-match. The protagonist of ``Story of the Man Who Wanted to Be Pregnant,'' gets his wish-and is then consumed by nightmares. ``Story of the Female Avenger and the Archangel in the Palace of Sinners,'' features Calamity Jane, who belly-dances in a brothel where enterprising hookers extract confessions from guilt-ridden Johns, until she is rescued by an archangel. Each ``Story'' is followed by one or more ``Windows,'' brief poems or aphorisms (e.g., ``Window on Time,'' ``Window on Latin American Tabloids''). Many of the tales have a populist cast as Galeano adopts the voice of a shrewd peasant wit to take shots at a system that exploits the poor. Brazilian artist Jose Francisco Borges's enchanting, folksy woodcuts, mixing childlike wonder and surreal fantasy, perfectly complement these lovely, resonant diversions. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
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