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La boda del poeta (The Wedding of the Poet)

La boda del poeta (The Wedding of the Poet)

by Antonio Skármeta

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Skarmeta has achieved a complex narrative which nonetheless reads simply, with a smoothness that is not at all naive, because beneath the anecdotes are hidden other readings and thus, with intelligence and joy, the story expands and broadens.


Skarmeta has achieved a complex narrative which nonetheless reads simply, with a smoothness that is not at all naive, because beneath the anecdotes are hidden other readings and thus, with intelligence and joy, the story expands and broadens.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
The citizens of the fictional Adriatic island of Gema prepare for a wedding and an invasion in this tragicomic romance. Wealthy Austrian businessman Jeronimo Franck, dubbed "the Poet" by his father, has purchased a dilapidated old department store and proposed to Alia Emar, the most beautiful girl on the island, much to the consternation of hot-blooded, blue-eyed Esteban Coppeta. Many residents believe the union is doomed to failure, since the young bride of the store's previous owner died on their wedding night under gruesome circumstances 20 years earlier. The first whiffs of World War I are in the air, and when the Austrian military arrives in Gema to recruit soldiers, Esteban's brother Reino organizes a small but bloody uprising. Their victory is short-lived, though, and soon the Austrian fleet bears down on the tiny island to take vengeance; even the pope tries to intercede, but to no avail. Meanwhile, Alia begins to doubt her decision: will the wedding happen as planned, or will she turn to Esteban? The supporting cast includes Pavlovic, an idealistic though somewhat devious journalist; Paula, Jeronimo's meddling sister, who tries to keep him from marrying below his class; and Torrentes, an eccentric inventor. The impoverished island comes alive with old superstitions, an impossibly large church bell and a risqu dance called the turumba. Although much of the novel's momentum is lost after the climactic wedding scene, Sk rmeta serves up a delightfully odd mix of political satire and romance. (Dec.) Forecast: Skarmeta is the author of Burning Patience, upon which the film Il Postino was based. This is his first novel to be published in the U.S. since and should catch the eye of some of the film's many fans. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal - Library Journal
Known mostly to American audiences for his last book, Burning Patience, the inspiration for the film Il Postino, Chilean-born Skarmeta is back on the track of literary greatness. Austrian shopkeeper Jeronimo Franck, nicknamed "the Poet," immigrates to the mythic Adriatic island of Gema sometime in the early 20th century and falls in love with, and marries, the much younger Alia Emar. Their idyll is shattered with the arrival of the Austrian fleet, sent in retaliation for the earlier murder of a squadron at the hands of a small band of local hoodlums. The troops rape Alia, Jeronimo kills himself, and the rebels flee their island and seek political asylum in Chile. On one level, this book is a simple, bittersweet love story. On a broader, thematic level, however, it might be interpreted as an allegory of Chile during the Allende regime in the early 1970s. Artistically, the satire and caricature parody the themes and style of the Latin American boom novel. An artistic gem, this is highly recommended.-Lawrence Olszewski, OCLC Lib., Dublin, OH Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
The Washington Post
Skarmeta's lively and joyful novel is really about imperialism and hegemony, though those ideas sometimes get lost in the admittedly delicious chaos of wedding preparations, unrequited love, irreverent priests and a final, violent epilogue that, alas, takes place off the page.
Kirkus Reviews
A witty and nostalgic portrait of a small Adriatic island, told by Chilean novelist Sk�rmeta (The Composition, 2000, etc.) with a good feel for the way past tragedies haunt future events. The fictitious island of Gema-nestled in the Adriatic Sea a few miles off the former Yugoslavian coast in what was a 19th-century wine-producing region-was prosperous in a very modest way. Its one claim to fame occurred just before 1900, when it boasted the finest department store ("The European") between Paris and Constantinople. The European was built by Stamos Marikanis, a local merchant who had made a fortune in trade and wanted to put Gema on the map. Having built it, Stamos wanted only one thing more to achieve his final happiness: the hand of Marta Matarasso. Stamos was by far the most successful man on the island, so Marta accepted his proposal without a second thought-to her eventual regret. For it seems that Stamos was a great deal, er, bigger than most men-so much so, in fact, that Marta died of bliss on her wedding night. Bereft and brokenhearted, Stamos left Gema and shut down the European, which slowly decayed over the next 20 years. In 1914, however, a rich German poet named Jeronimo Frank settled on the island and fell in love with a local girl named Alia Emar. The scion of a great banking family, Jeronimo decides to reopen the European and see if he can make a go of life as a merchant. The islanders, who have suffered terrible harvests after a fungus has attacked most of their vineyards, are delighted at the prospect of new investment from abroad. But they worry that a tragedy similar to Marta's may befall Alia. Can history repeat itself for the better? At the very worst, it's not a badway to go. Slight but savory.

Product Details

Plaza & Janes Editories, S.A.
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Spanish-language Edition

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