Columbus's Egg: New Latin American Stories on the Legacy of Conquest

Nick Caistor, Editor
Nick Caistor, Editor Faber & Faber $12.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-571-19799-6
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The stories in this timely volume, commemorating the quincentenary of Columbus's ``discovery'' of the New World, have been chosen well by Caistor ( The Faber Book of Contemporary Latin American Stories ). Most appear in English for the first time here; many were written expressly for this volume. Miguel Angel Asturias, the late Nobel laureate from Guatemala, focuses on the destruction of the indigenous population by the Spaniards in their lust for gold and jewels; it is a story of myth, survival, death and divine retribution. Chilean Ariel Dorfman examines the continued annihilation in the present of those same Indian tribes. Peruvian Alfredo Bryce Echenique and Argentine Luisa Valenzuela reflect on the relationship of mestizo people--persons of mixed Indian and Spanish descent--to the legacy of Columbus's voyage. Spanish novelist Juan Goytisolo, in an excellent afterword, points out that one can't celebrate the voyage of Columbus without also, perhaps unwittingly, celebrating its bloody aftermath. Although Caistor's introduction is awkwardly written and all too brief, the stories themselves are powerful enough to make this a worthy addition to the shelf of books published to mark this important anniversary. (Nov.)
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