Piano Stories

Felisberto Hernandez, Author, Italo Calvino, Introduction by Marsilio Publishers $18 (0p) ISBN 978-0-941419-54-3
Uruguayan fabulist Hernandez (1902-1964) influenced Calvino and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, among others, but the appeal of these fey tales that introduce him to an English-speaking audience and that recount the adventures of a poor pianist may elude the casual reader. For Hernandez, inanimate objects have a will and conscience of their own. About a red pencil used by his music teacher, the narrator exclaims, ``like a piglet suckling in quick, short bursts, it would cling hungrily to the white of the page, leaving little sharp footprints with its short black hoof and merrily wagging its long red tail.'' In another story, the narrator plays the piano for an agoraphobic who believes that her balcony has a soul and that, jealous over the attention she pays to the narrator, the balcony has jumped from the building. Other strange doings involve a promotional scheme for a furniture store whereby promoters inject would-be customers with a serum that sensitizes them to special advertising broadcasts, and a woman who dresses up a doll that resembles her in her own clothing and whose husband eventually falls in love with the doll. Hernandez's imagination is extremely fertile, but his prose, at least in this translation, is baggy and he tends to trot out intriguing but ultimately meaningless phrases: ``She leaned her bare arms on the panes as if she were resting them on someone's breast.'' (July)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993
Release date: 08/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-8112-2181-8
Paperback - 258 pages - 978-0-8112-2180-1
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