Barbara Paschke Clamor of Innocence

ISBN 13: 9780872862272

Clamor of Innocence

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9780872862272: Clamor of Innocence

anthology of short stories from Central America

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Language Notes:

Text: English, Spanish (translation)

Review:

"I'd like to write more about that village, but there isn't any time," says a character in Francisco Govidia's "Me She-Wolf," reflecting the urgency that informs these two very important anthologies. Taken together, they contain forty-seven stories by thirty-eight Central American authors, most appearing in English for the first time. Although it is not possible to lavish time on settings in short stories, the urgency in these anthologies arises in part out of the settings themselves. Many take place in prison, in war, in hiding, or in fleeing-settings in which we would automatically expect danger. For one, we have Dante Liano's "Democrash" which depicts the trapped, crazed atmosphere of the Guatemalan voting polls as a "reporter" pronounces, "What's needed here is the "MILITARY POLICE" (Clamor). And Alfonso Qijada Uria's "In the Shade..." begins ominously at the comer of Espafia and Delano Roosevelt Streets, the crux of imperialism (We). There isn't time for the characters for many reasons. In Jacinta Escudo's "Look At Lislique a guerilla tries to come to terms with his childhood friend's dead body even as his unit is being hurried out of his hometown. (We). Sometimes all the time in the world would not be enough for women who must go on living after their lovers have been killed in stories such as "Microbus to San Salvador," by Manlio Argueta (We), and "A Surrender of Love," by Juan Aburto (Clamor). Quite differently, Bertalicia Peralta's woman must work through the night to dismember and bury by morning the boyfriend she has murdered(Clamor and We).Despite and because of such desperate situations, many of the narrators are feistily humorous and sarcastic. The pages crackle with colloquial wisecracking and arch formalness. There is the outrageous tale of "Mr. Taylor," the Bostonian who sells shrunken Latin American heads and gets his due in a wry, well worded ending (Clamor and We). Rogelio Singn's "Heaven's Surgeon" is a wonderful spoof (Clamor). These are the opening words of one Magdaleno Perez in Fabian Doble's "Self-Defense:" "Well that's how it was: As usual, nothing new worth talking about. Waiting for the frog to sprout hair, like they say." (We) In short, the voices and lives and places that make up these stories are wonderful to read because they are charged with passion and imagination. At the same time, the editors have managed to present a dazzling array of writing styles--epistolary to metafiction-and genres-including myths, modem parables, horror, historical fiction, contemporary realism, and accounts that blur all those distinctions. There are stories concerning baseball, sexual dysfunction, single parenthood, and theft. The writers are both men and women and all are natives of Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, or El Salvador. They show us so much more about their people than we have known before, and another urgency arises: to read and know more. There are a few differences in the two collections. And We Sold the Rain has the advantage of large print and thirty-two pages of preface, introduction, and generous author and translator biographies, all of which provide a cultural context for the stories. In contrast, Clamor of Innocence has small print and only brief biographies (two-and-one-half pages), but it has the advantage of more than a third more stories. So, the former emphasizes understanding Central American fiction while the latter emphasizes reading the burgeoning body of work. Only four stories appear in both anthologies, and those four can provide fascinating studies in translation differences. Both are highly recommended for bookstores, libraries, and individuals. These are stories we all urgently need to read. -- From Independent Publisher

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Paschke, Barbara
Published by City Lights Publishers (1989)
ISBN 10: 0872862275 ISBN 13: 9780872862272
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