Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll (New York Review Books Classics) by Alvaro Mutis

A beautiful and comic voyage of a book that at different times will evoke Heart of Darkness, Greek tragedy, Moby Dick, Sinbad’s voyages, King Solomon’s Mines, narratives of Proust and Nabokov, the rogue casts of Pynchon and Dickens, Don Quixote, Journey to the End of the Night, and Borges. These seven novellas form one novel are filled with stories that are comically absurd, fraught with menace or existential doom, and or both at the same time. The at times anachronistic feeling of the narrative, mixes with the timelessness of the themes in a very effective way, and its underworld setting of rotting ports, abandoned and deadly mines, steaming jungles, whorehouses, army outposts, and rusty tramp steamers with its cast of terrorists, suicides, dreamers, psychopaths, homicidal dwarfs, drug dealers, soldiers, and the blind, are an endless riot, Adventure stories fill with wide eyed wonder but wrapped in a dreamy melancholy with ontological concerns. One of the great books of our time which I recommend wholeheartedly.

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