Introduction Translator's Note Beasts in Collusion The Contract Laborers The Log-Fishermen The Yaciyatere The Charcoal-Makers The Wilderness A Workingman The Exiles Van-Houten Tacuara-Mansion The Darkroom The Orange-Distillers The Forerunners Map of Misiones List of Place Names A Quiroga Chronology
Elsa K. Gambarini taught Spanish at Yale University for several years.
Quiroga (1878-1937) set his best stories in the Argentine territory of Misiones during ``the heroic days of logging and yerba mate.'' Anecdotal and seemingly artless, they parade a rich mixture of frontier types: vagrants, eccentrics, exiles, ne'er-do-wells. But the real protagonist here is Misiones itself in its various manifestations: the marvelously described snake in ``A Workingman''; a squall sweeping the Parana River in ``The Yaciyatere''; the capricious cold snap in ``The Charcoal-Makers.'' Local color fiction at its vigorous best. Grove Koger, Boise P.L., Id.
In one of the 13 stories by this Uruguayan writer collected here, two men stranded during a rainstorm stumble on a family gathered around a very sick boy. Nearby is the yaciayatere, a bird that screeches out a warning when death is near. The men are certain that the boy will die, although the parents don't seem to realize this. The story offers an unexpected twist at the end and carries the message: don't laugh in the face of death. In ``The Wilderness,'' a rough-and-ready man named Subercasaux is kind and gentle when around his children but filled with panic when he thinks of the deadly infection that is taking over his body. Quiroga's prose effectively conveys the despair, the hope and the fear that grips his South American characters. (July)
"Each of the book's stories introduces the reader to a unique denizen of the wild-logger or laborer, small landowner or smalltime experimenter, who must extract an arduous living from the land and struggle with the loneliness of frontier life. Quiroga is at his best when he explores the laconic comradeship of these isolated men." * Choice * "As an author of the macabre and of nature, Quiroga redefined the borders of the fantastic, realizing that pure realism was an abomination of the marvelous and horrific reality of the Latin American jungle." * Review: Latin American Literature and Arts *