Puget Sound English Department

May 31, 2009

Eduardo Galeano Publishes New Book

Filed under: Activities off Campus,Literature — O. @ 1:09 am

eduardo-galeano-1 (pictured: Eduardo Galeano)

A few weeks ago, President Hugo Chavez caused quite a stir when he presented President Barack Obama with a copy of Eduardo Galeano’s book of history, Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent. Some commentators believed Obama should not have accepted the book, whereas Obama expressed doubt that accepting a copy of a book would affect strategic foreign policy.

Galeano has published a new book: Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone (Nation Books, 2009).  Following  is an excerpt from a starred review by Donna Seaman in Booklist, and the excerpt is taken from the amazon.com site, with gratitude. The selection from the review may give you some sense of what Galeano’s book is about.

“In his poetic nonfiction, Galeano performs the sort of extraordinary feats of compassion, artistry, and imagination achieved in fiction by his fellow visionary Latin American writers, especially Borges, García Márquez, and Bolaño. Galeano’s seminal works, most notably Memory of Fire (1988), have been enormously influential in both content and form, and now this historian of conscience, this humanely ironic commentator and dazzling storyteller, distills the entire wild pageant of human history into a radiant mosaic of pithy fables, essays, and portraits. Galeano circles the planet, tallying our triumphs and crimes from cave paintings to genocide, gathering myths, exposing lies, and reclaiming forgotten heroes. Origin stories are a favorite subject, both authentic and impishly improvised, as in ‘Origin of the World Trade Organization,’ in which Zeus chooses Hermes to be the god of trade ‘because he was the best liar.’  Galeano is particularly ardent in his parsing of the perpetual injustice and violence against women, the perversion of religion and the habit of war, the horrors of slavery, the evolution of science, and the pillaging of the earth. Themes and connecting patterns rise up like waves and carry forward flotillas of essays in this gorgeously fluid and caustic chronicle of the human condition.” —Donna Seaman

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