Into the Looking-Glass Wood: Essays on Books, Reading, and the World

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9780156012652: Into the Looking-Glass Wood: Essays on Books, Reading, and the World
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Alberto Manguel has enchanted hundreds of thousands of readers with his bestselling books, including The Dictionary of Imaginary Places. Now he has assembled a personal collection of his own essays that will enchant anyone interested in reading, writing, or the world. Through personal stories and literary reflections, in a style rich in humor and gentle scholarship, Manguel leads his readers to reflect on the links that bind the physical world to our language that describes it. The span of his attention in these twenty-three essays is enthralling: from "Who Am I?," in which he recounts the first adventures of childhood reading, to "Borges in Love," a memoir of the great blind writer's passions; from his first encounters with the evils of prejudice to a meditation on the death of Che Guevara; from a tour of his library to evocations of such of his favorite writers as Cortázar and Chesterton. A voyage deep into the subversive heart of words, Into the Looking-Glass Wood is fired by the author's humanity, insatiable curiosity, and steadfast belief in the essential power, mystery, and delight of the written word.

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About the Author:

Alberto Manguel is the author of a novel, several anthologies, and the bestsellers A History of Reading and The Dictionary of Imaginary Places. He lives in Alberta, Canada.

From Publishers Weekly:

An homage to Alice in Wonderland sets the tone for this smooth but predictable collection of miscellaneous pieces on literature and politics. In referencing Lewis Carroll's arch logicAand later Borges's labyrinthine conundrumsAcritic and professional bibliophile Manguel (A History of Reading) indulges his penchant for thinly spun theorizing on the relationship between reader and text, the power of words and naming and the hallowed status of literature and its practitioners. Manguel praises Cynthia Ozick, G.K. Chesterton and Canadian poet Richard Outram in a series of review-based essays, and elevates the entire put-upon class of writers in an extended tongue-in-cheek retelling of the Old Testament Book of Jonah. Two pieces on the genre of gay literature take up familiar debates of inclusion and exclusion; another piece raises interesting questions about "imaginary" or "armchair" Jews who take unearned pride in their heritage (but fails to answer them adequately). Born and raised in Argentina, ManguelAwho currently resides in CanadaAis at his sharpest and most original in his Argentine-themed essays: a piece on Borges's amorous adventures draws on Manguel's schoolboy memories of reading aloud to the blind writer; "In Memoriam" poignantly describes the fate of one of Manguel's first mentors, Marta Lynch, a popular Argentinean writer, in the aftermath of the 1966 military coup; and in "God's Spies," Manguel decries Mario Vargas Llosa's call for amnesty for Argentinean war criminals. When Manguel isn't waxing too lyrical, he is an able storyteller. In the end, however, the reader is liable to concur with Cynthia Ozick, as quoted by Manguel: "Fiction is all discovery.... Essays know too much." (Aug.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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