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Other titles in the Margellos World Republic of Letters series:
The African Shore (Margellos World Republic of Letters)by Rodrigo Rey Rosa
Synopses & Reviews
In the vein of the writings of Paul Bowles, Paul Theroux, and V. S. Naipaul, The African Shore marks a major new installment in the genre of dystopic travel fiction. Rodrigo Rey Rosa, prominent in todays Guatemalan literary world and an author of growing international reputation, presents a tale of alienation, misrecognition, and intrigue set in and around Tangier. He weaves a double narrative involving a Colombian tourist pleasurably stranded in Morocco and a young shepherd who dreams of migrating to Spain and of riches to come.” At the center of their tale is an owl both treasured and coveted.
The author addresses the anxiety, distrust, and potential for violence that characterize the border of all borders: the strait that divides Africa and Europe, where the waters of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic meet. His often-remarked prose style, at once rich and spare, endows his work with remarkable elegance. Rey Rosa generates a powerful reality within his imagined world, and he maintains a narrative tension to the haunting conclusion, raising small and large questions that linger in the readers mind long after the final page.
With an Afterword by Jeffrey Gray
"Set in Tangier, Guatemalan Rey Rosa's (The Good Cripple) spare novella evokes the work of his mentor Paul Bowles. Loosely interweaving the stories of Hamsa, a Moroccan shepherd preparing himself to serve as a lookout for a smuggling operation run by his uncle, and of a Colombian tourist (not named until the end), who, having lost his passport during a night of drunken debauchery, finds himself stuck in Morocco, the book is thin on plot and thick on atmosphere. Like that stranded traveler, who occupies most of the storyline, the narrative is content to meander, seemingly refusing action and appearing to take pleasure in passivity. The two strands of the work coalesce around an owl, impulsively purchased by the tourist and sought after by Hamsa, who believes that the bird's plucked out eyes will work as an amulet should the job his uncle promises materialize. Less a conventional novel, more an episodic exploration of ennui, superstition, and the intersection of cultures — European, Latin American, Arab — that takes place on the eponymous shore, the book is strangely hypnotic. Quietly mesmerizing and unfolding with no discernible pattern, it builds to a simple closing note. Gray's unadorned translation, keeping many of the regional exclamations intact, lets the narrative shine, demonstrating why Rey Rosa's reputation has been growing internationally." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A riveting and highly praised novel by Guatemalas leading writer of fiction, now in English for the first time
About the Author
Rodrigo Rey Rosa is a prominent member of the Guatemalan literary scene. Many of his works of fiction have been translated and internationally acclaimed, including Dust on Her Tongue, The Beggars Knife, and The Pelcari Project, all translated into English by the late Paul Bowles. He lives in Guatemala. Jeffrey Gray is professor of English, Seton Hall University, New Jersey. He is author of Masterys End: Travel and Postwar American Poetry and editor of the Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Poets and Poetry.
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