Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This variegated anthology spotlights 21 accomplished authors from 10 countries. The celebrated Clarice Lispector and Luisa Valenzuela appear alongside less familiar contributors; each voice here achieves distinction. In ``An Avid One in Extremis,'' Hilda Hilst of Brazil offers a deathbed scene couched in roily stream-of-consciousness. The archives in Uruguayan Cristina Peri Rossi's ``The Museum of Futile Endeavors'' immortalize (in alphabetical and chronological files) hopeless efforts--such as one man's 10-year attempt to teach his dog to speak. In ``Solitude of Blood,'' Marta Brunet, from Chile, describes a woman who transcends her husband's domination through the pleasure afforded by a single phonograph record. The narrator of Mexican Margo Glantz's ``Genealogies'' reconstructs her family's history from snippets of relatives' accounts and images drawn from cinema. In ``The Enchanted Raisin,'' a fairy tale by Jacqueline Balcells of Chile, three ``absolutely unbearable'' children make their mother's life so wretched that she shrivels into a raisin. Agosin is the author of Pablo Neruda. (Dec.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
With the current popularity of Isabel Allende, North American readers are finally becoming aware of the fiction created by contemporary Latin American women writers. While too few of these writers' full-length novels have yet to be translated, more and more of their short stories have been published in English. Agosin's anthology includes 22 short stories by 20th-century women writers from ten Latin American countries. Some of the writers--Clarice Lispector, Carmen Naranjo, Luisa Valenzuela--are already well known to students of Latin American literature. This collection, which includes stories that display elements of the magical realism made familiar to North Americans by Garcia Marquez, shows why Agosin is well established as a critic and poet in both English and Spanish.-- Mary Margaret Benson, Linfield Coll. Lib., McMinnville, Ore.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
YA-- Motivated by the desire to distribute in English the writings of women who are famous in their countries but unknown elsewhere, Agosin has given readers a true gift. She has organized 22 stories into five very general groupings that include myth, fairy tale, and contemporary life. Some are so short as to almost be fragments while others are longer; all form an amazingly broad range of approach and subject matter. A translator is infuriated at having to speak for a lying politician (``The Open Letter'' by Helena Araujo of Colombia); a little girl tries to understand why the adults in her life are withdrawn and distracted (``Jimena's Fair'' by Laura Riesco of Peru); and mischievous children watch their mother shrink to the size of a raisin (``The Enchanted Raisin'' by Jacqueline Balcells of Chile). Marta Bruent of Chile, born in 1897 and the earliest writer represented, provides a haunting and carefully constructed story about a woman's life and what she clings to for survival. Following a sudden terrible act of destruction, she considers death but chooses life. This spirit of life and vitality permeates the entire book. --Barbara Weathers, Duchesne Academy, Houston