Concierto Barroco

Alejo Carpentier, Author, Asa Zatz, Translator Council Oak Books $7.95 (135p) ISBN 978-0-933031-12-8
An 18th century nameless Mexican nobleman and his Cuban servant, Filomeno, journey from the New World to the Old. In Venice, dazzled by and invigorated with the enchantment of the Christmas carnival, the pair encounters a trio of revelers who turn out to be the baroque composers Vivaldi, Handel and Scarlatti. The celebratory mood continues as the Mexican's tales of his homeland prompt Vivaldi to write and stage an opera based on Cortez's conquest of Montezuma. After the ridiculous performance, the confused master retreats to the security of Mexico, which seems to him more grounded in reality than the fantastical Venice, while Filomeno, bewitched by the city and especially by the music, remains. The late Cuban writer and musicologist Carpentier was a pioneer experimenter with the style of magic realism, which suffuses this story, from the overflowing, baroque sentences and the characters' languid, mysterious conversations to the purposeful blending of historical time periods. Also apparent throughout is a strong sense of irony. By creating a New World master who seeks adventure in the Old World, and a servant who is the book's most intelligent and articulate character, Carpentier reverses the expected order. This novella is a bizarre and compelling fantasy, a labyrinth-like journey laced with layers of allusions, insights and humor. (September)
Reviewed on: 10/02/1995
Release date: 10/01/1995
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 81 pages - 978-0-8477-0183-4
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