The Old Man Who Read Love Stories
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|Format:||Paperback / softback, 128 pages, New edition Edition|
|Published In: ||UK, 01 March 2002|
In this simple but haunting tale of an old man who becomes the mediator between the ravages of Western civilisation and the vengeance of the threatened natural world, the great exiled Chilean writer Luis Sepulveda poignantly highlights the tragedy that lies at the core of man's attempts to destroy the Amazon wilderness in pursuit of his own greed. This beautifully modulated novel has won major literary prizes and has been published in more than twenty countries. When white prospectors are killed by a female oeclot crazed with grief at the slaughter of her cubs, there is only one man in the remote village of El Idilio who possesses the skill and knowledge to hunt her down. Antonio Jose Bolivar Proano has lived with the native Shuar and learn the ways of the jungle. The lore he has absorbed tells him that it is sacrilege to slay the noble beast of the forest, but as a member of the encroaching white race he knows that the animal must die. Nature is out of balance. Antonio Jose Bolivar has another secret: he can read and he has a passion for love stories - so long as they involve great suffering and have a happy ending. The dentist, on his twice-yearly visits to El Idilio, brings a fresh supply of romances, and as the old man loses himself in the world of star-crossed lovers he can forget the painful barbarity of his fellow men. As he sets out on the mission only he can fulfil, Antonio Jose Bolivar leads us on a journey that will enchant, enthral and remain long in the memory.
About the Author
Luis Sepulveda, born in northern Chile in 1949, has written short stories, novellas, plays and essays. Due to his political activities in the students' movement he was forced to leave Chile and then travelled through Latin America. In 1980, he moved to Germany where he lived for more than ten years with his family. He moved to Gijon in Spain in 1997. Sepulveda has won numerous literary awards and his work has been translated into over thirty languages.
Gold prospectors, gringo intruders and seedy adventurers murder indigenous peoples, slaughter endangered species and turn Ecuador's lush jungle into a wasteland in this short, poignant novel with a resounding environmental message. Living in a hut in the jungle for over 40 years, Antonio Jose Bolivar Proano, now an old man, reads romantic novels to fill the void left by the death of his wife from malaria years ago. From the Shuar Indians, Antonio has learned to live in harmony with nature; he participates in their secret rites and drinks hallucinogenic potions with them. Then an unscrupulous mayor forces the reluctant Antonio to take part in the hunt for an ocelot whose cubs were killed by a gringo, turning her into a predator that stalks and kills men. The ensuing horrific confrontation between man and cat reveals the extent to which human depredations have tortured wildlife and disrupted ecosystems. Chilean writer Sepulveda, a political exile living in Germany since 1980, worked in the Amazon jungle for UNESCO, and his intimate familiarity with the land and all its creatures illuminates a taut, moving parable. (Mar.)
'If Ernest Hemingway had been a magic realist he might have been able to write a story like this bitter and endearing fable. Luis Sepulveda is yet another strong and original writer from Chile' - Ursula K. Le Guin
|Publisher: ||Arcadia Books|