One-Handed Pianist and Other Stories

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9780826316455: One-Handed Pianist and Other Stories
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Haunting and enigmatic, these nine loosely connected stories are evidence of the growing field of Jewish-Latin American fiction. "A Heaven Without Crows," structured as a letter from Kafka to his friend Max Brod, details the labyrinthine paths of his tortured soul. "The Invention of Memory," awarded the Gamma Literature Prize, is also a tribute to Eastern European letters, in which a Czech man with a portentous memory is diagnosed with a deteriorating illness. He travels to Mexico to look for his past and fight against oblivion by carefully staging his vanishing reminiscences. "Three Nightmares" proves that fantasy and reality, people and things, are form-shifting aspects of one another. And the title story is a bizarre tale, a succinct and tangential homage to Felisberto Hernandez's piano narratives and to Oliver Sacks's neurological anecdotes, in which a young woman loses touch with one of her hands. The volume concludes with an autobiographical essay, "Lost in Translation," in which Stavans comments on his experience growing up Jewish in Mexico.
Told with wit and precision, these stories are at once a meditation on politics and the imagination in the Hispanic world, compelling allegories on the nature of freedom and individuality, a study of guilt, and a savage satire on the rigorous banality of life. The delicious secrets of Stavans's imagination unfold in these endearing tales with the authority of dreams, questioning our philosophical assumptions and portraying the universe as a vast, mysterious theater where everything is sacred but nothing is absolute.

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About the Author:

Born in Mexico to Russian-Polish Jewish parents, Ilan Stavans is a lexicographer, cultural commentator, and author who teaches at Amherst College in Massachusetts. His works include Dictionary Days (Graywolf Press, 2004), Spanglish (Rayo, 2004), the graphic novel Latino USA (Basic Books, 2000), and the autobiography On Borrowed Words (Penguin, 2002).

Language Notes:

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Spanish

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780810124608: The One-Handed Pianist and Other Stories

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ISBN 10:  0810124602 ISBN 13:  9780810124608
Publisher: Northwestern University Press, 2007
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Ilan Stavans
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