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Having translated Manuel Puig, Julio Cortazar, Adolfo Bioy Casares, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, and other notable authors, Suzanne Jill Levine is one of the most highly regarded translators of contemporary Latin American literature. She is a professor of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and the author of The Subversive Scribe: Translating Latin American Fiction.
This collection of seven stories by the Argentinean author and protege of Borges exhibits many elements reminiscent of his mentor's style. The title story, ``A Russian Doll,'' reveals the unexpected fate of a man who allows himself to be engulfed by greed in pursuit of a wealthy heiress at odds with her father. Like Russian nesting dolls, the characters in this and in the other stories reveal hidden motives and submerged existences when their surfaces are peeled away. Most of the stories contain surrealistic elements, yet Casares also tackles serious issues such as censorship of artistic expression in a repressive society (``Cato'') and prejudice (``The Navigator Returns to His Country''). Although the author's work has been translated previously, he has not yet gained wide recognition in the United States, and he merits greater attention. This representative collection will be of interest to academic and public libraries.--Mary Ellen Beck, Troy P.L., N.Y.
This collection of traditional and experimental stories by Argentinian novelist Bioy Casares ( The Adventures of a Photographer in La Plata ) offers sophisticated, seamless prose, as well as magical realism and biting political satire. His characters are motivated by lust, avarice and vanity but elicit sympathy because of their vulnerability. In the title story, a fortune hunter joins an ecological expedition in pursuit of a millionaire's daughter; but the father is swallowed by an enormous pollution-feeding caterpillar, and when the daughter takes over her father's factory, she renounces her former ecological stance. In another story, a notary public recovering from hepatitis stays near a lake and meets Doctor Salmon's niece, who asks him to prove his love for her by letting her uncle transform them both into fish. Many of the stories are fantasies, often centering on shocking events--an actor is shot by supporters of a dictatorship for playing a republican who cries, ``Oh liberty!'' and an angelic-looking girl breakfasts on her parents after being given an appetite stimulant. Throughout Casares surprises and entertains in these suspenseful stories. (Sept.)