The Heart That Bleeds: Latin America Now

Alma Guillermoprieto, Author
Alma Guillermoprieto, Author Knopf Publishing Group $24 (345p) ISBN 978-0-679-42884-8
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-679-75795-5
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In 13 savvy and sensitive dispatches first published in the New Yorker as ``Letters from Latin America,'' Guillermoprieto ( Samba ) tells memorable tales of dislocation and change. Her reports on embattled leaders like Carlos Menem of Argentina, Alberto Fujimori of Peru and Fernando Collor de Mello of Brazil, are never just profiles but rather narratives about national culture. The Collor piece contrasts the public spectacle of his corruption with the murder of a TV starlet in the soap opera-obsessed country. Guillermoprieto also finds quirky, interesting specialists: a Mexican garbologist, a Peruvian Senderologist (after Sendero Luminoso, the Shining Path guerrilla insurgents) and a Colombian violentologo , who researches the violence of that unfortunate country. For her many resonant subjects, the author looks to every stratum of society, be it a teenage Colombian assassin, a favela-dweller in Rio converted to the growing evangelical church or a Bolivian beer magnate-turned-politician. Born and raised in Mexico, Guillermoprieto learned her trade in England and Washington, D.C., before moving to New York City. If her ironic tone approaches melancholy, her textured reporting evinces deep care for the region that forms part of her own bicultural identity. (Feb.)
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