Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone

Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone

3.8 8
by Eduardo Galeano
     
 

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"Eduardo Galeano is one of our greatest storytellers. Throughout his career he has transcended genre and turned our understanding of history and reality on its head. Mirrors is his latest book of wonders, his most ambitious project since Memory of Fire - that landmark re-creation of 500 years in the Americas. Mirrors is a sometimes bawdy, sometimes irreverent,… See more details below

Overview

"Eduardo Galeano is one of our greatest storytellers. Throughout his career he has transcended genre and turned our understanding of history and reality on its head. Mirrors is his latest book of wonders, his most ambitious project since Memory of Fire - that landmark re-creation of 500 years in the Americas. Mirrors is a sometimes bawdy, sometimes irreverent, sometimes heartbreaking unofficial history of the world seen - and mirrored to us - through the eyes and voices of history's unseen, unheard, and forgotten. As Galeano asks, "Official history has it that Vasco Nunez de Balboa was the first man to see, from a summit in Panama, the two oceans at once. Were the people who lived there blind?" Taking in 5,000 years of history, recalling the lives of artists and writers, gods and visionaries from the Garden of Eden to twenty-First-century New York and Mumbai, and told in hundreds of kaleidoscopic vignettes that resurrect the lives of the "thinkers and the feelers, the curious, condemned for asking, rebels and losers and lovely lunatics who were and are the salt of the earth," Mirrors is a magic mosaic of our humanity.

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Editorial Reviews

Neil Gordon
In some 600 short entries, [Galeano] travels from prehistory to the present, from the impressionistic to the brutally, precisely documented. Each entry is an avatar of outrage over the depredations of power against its multifarious victims…Galeano's prose is nearly lulling in its lyricism, a quality that gives it an overridingly shamanic tone. His powerful voice reminds us, over and over again, of the responsibility of writers to be constantly in search of new forms of expression that may draw us out of our complacency, as he does so eloquently here. As in his previous books, he succeeds in capturing the bottomless horror of the state's capacity to inflict pain on the individual, offering as effective an act of political dissent as exists anywhere in contemporary literature.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

The acclaimed Uruguayan writer Galeano offers another striking but hard to classify work-except in relation to his own oeuvre: this book being something like a companion piece to Book of Embraces or his three-volume Memory of Fire. In pithy retellings of creation myths and reflections on history, he uses the past to comment on the present: juxtaposing the origin of the Hindu caste system and the "untouchable" class, whose members were responsible for cleaning up the wreckage of the 2004 tsunami, revealing how the casualties of the invasion of Iraq were not only human but memory itself, embodied by the destruction of priceless artifacts from the birthplace of writing. These vignettes embrace the exalted and the humble, and consistently privilege the narratives of the dispossessed-indigenous people, women and accounts from the global south. Across disparate civilizations and centuries-but always with an unflinching eye (and irony) trained on the present-Galeano's stories register the imaginations of our mythmaking species, the elaborate gestures of (gendered) forms of power and the spirit of rebellion and resilience that fires the underdog masses. (June)

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Kirkus Reviews
From the noted Uruguayan author, a broad, global, sometimes glancing look at all the ways humans do wrong. Galeano (Voices of Time, 2006, etc.) practically holds a patent on the telling of history via feuilletonistic vignettes, most running just a few hundred words. In this latest variation on the theme he established a quarter-century ago with his Memory of Fire trilogy, Galeano relates some 600 tales, ranging from the protohominid origins of humankind to the sad realization that the 21st century is likely to be no different than its predecessor, "born proclaiming peace and justice, died bathed in blood." In between is a whirlwind of emperors, pharaohs, soldiers, explorers, saints and sinners. Galeano also develops a few anticapitalist, universalist themes that are sometimes much too obvious-racism is bad; why is Balboa credited as the first man to see two oceans at once when surely some Panamanian Indian beat him to it; etc.-but most of which bear airing nonetheless. In the latter regard, he hits his stride with a sequence of tales on the various ways in which the Devil has been depicted over time: as Muslim ("a great army of demons that grew larger with every blow of the lance, sword, and harquebus"), Jewish, black, female, poor, foreign, gay, Gypsy and/or Indian. Galeano's miniature essays are a hit-or-miss affair. When they hit, they make neat historical connections. When they miss, they sound familiar and tired, as when he writes, "In our days, George W. Bush, perhaps believing that writing was invented in Texas, launched with joyful impunity a war to exterminate Iraq."Galeano's admirers will be content with this more-of-the-same approach to universal history; newbies may find itgimmicky. Either way, this new installment is worth a look. Author tour to New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Fe, Seattle, Ottawa

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786744701
Publisher:
Nation Books
Publication date:
05/26/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
304,631
File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

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