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Friday, May 3, 2013
Eduardo Galeano lives in Uruguay where he works as a journalist and writer of books. He has won awards for his writing.
Now he has written a collection of stories and commentary. Each of the entries is associated with a day of the year. The entries are varied in subject and tone.
Here are two excerpts:
“THE MOUNTAINS THAT WERE
“Over the past two centuries, four hundred seventy mountains have been decapitated in the Appalachians, the North American range named in memory of the region’s native people.
“Because they lived on fertile lands the Indians were evicted.
“Because they contained coal the mountains were hollowed out.”
“Back in the year 960, Christian missionaries invaded Scandinavia and threatened the Vikings: if you persist in your pagan customs you will end up in hell where eternal fires burn.
“The Vikings welcomed the news. They trembled from cold, not fear.”
Every entry will elicit a response. The response may be laughter, anger or reflection. The result will be a desire to think, or to know more. In that regard, this is a valuable piece of literature.
It is also a snapshot of one of Latin America’s most revered writers that allows North Americans an introduction to understanding how our neighbors view the world.
As I read this book, I was reminded of a long ago summer on Lake Dunmore in central Vermont when the campers and staff were singing “God Bless America.” The loudest voices in the dining commons were those of the campers from Venezuela. When asked by a staff man (it was a camp for boys) how they knew the lyrics, one boy named Eduardo replied, “I am an American, too.”
Now a Uruguayan named Eduardo offers a collection of thought-provoking stories that provides insight into the culture of our “America cousins.”
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