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The Rainforest (Latin American Women Writers)

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The Rainforest (Latin American Women Writers) Cover

ISBN13: 9780803293298
ISBN10: 0803293291
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From the Latin American Women Writers series

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“Labinger's melodic translation lyrically enhances Steimberg's potently symbolic portrait of a woman in transition.”—Booklist.

“From Argentine novelist Steimberg . . . comes a poetically written and beautifully translated perspective on personal happiness, solace, and mature love.” —Library Journal.

“In a novel as fragmented and verdant as memory itself, Argentine author Steimberg (Call Me Magdalena) creates a troubled Argentine writer, a widow in her late 50s who seeks comfort and recovery at a convalescent spa in the lush Brazilian rain forest. In scraps of tortured writing, dreams and unbidden recollections, Cecilia examines her relationships with three men: her deceased second husband, Dardo; Federico, the violent drug-addicted son she has cut out of her life; and Steve, a biologist from Los Angeles with whom she falls in love. . . . The question this reflective novel finally poses is whether Cecilia is strong enough to risk the possibility of a future with a man who is, ultimately, as imperfect and mortal as she is.”—Publishers Weekly.

For middle-aged Cecilia, the rainforest represents both solace and tenuously controlled danger, as she discovers when she follows the same path each day from her hotel at a Brazilian spa into the surrounding jungle. Although her daily forays are designed to help leave her painful past behind, Cecilia’s thoughts return to her deceased husband, her drug-addicted son, and her own place in the world. These thoughts are her only company until the present intrudes once more in the unlikely form of a fellow patient at the spa, a North American man who might represent a second chance.

In The Rainforest, the award-winning novelist Alicia Steimberg offers the reader new definitions of happiness and mature love—or perhaps simply the reassurance that in life, nothing is ever quite as terrible as one fears or quite as glorious as one remembers.

Alicia Steimberg was born in 1933 in Buenos Aires, the descendant of Eastern European Jewish immigrants to Argentina. She received an advanced education and training in English and has worked for many years as a professional translator. Her own literature has a clear autobiographical component, and she has earned a reputation as one of Argentina’s best contemporary writers. In 1992 she was awarded the prestigious Premio Planeta Biblioteca del Sur for her novel Cuando digo Magdalena, since translated into English and available in the Bison Books edition, Call Me Magdalena.

Andrea G. Labinger is a professor of Spanish and the director of the honors program at the University of La Verne in Southern California. Her many translations include Alicia Steimberg’s Call Me Magdalena and Carlos Cerda’s An Empty House, also available in a Bison Books edition.

Synopsis:

The story of a lonely woman who seeks a connection to nature at a Brazillian spa, hoping to find solace for her body and spirit.

Synopsis:

For middle-aged Cecilia, the rainforest represents both solace and tenuously controlled danger, as she discovers when she follows the same path each day from her hotel at a Brazilian spa into the surrounding jungle. Although her daily forays are designed to help leave her painful past behind, Cecilias thoughts return to her deceased husband, her drug-addicted son, and her own place in the world. These thoughts are her only company until the present intrudes once more in the unlikely form of a fellow patient at the spa, a North American man who might represent a second chance.

In The Rainforest, the award-winning novelist Alicia Steimberg offers the reader new definitions of happiness and mature love—or perhaps simply the reassurance that in life, nothing is ever quite as terrible as one fears or quite as glorious as one remembers.

About the Author

Alicia Steimberg was born in 1933 in Buenos Aires, the descendant of Eastern European Jewish immigrants to Argentina. She received an advanced education and training in English and has worked for many years as a professional translator. Her own literature has a clear autobiographical component, and she has earned a reputation as one of Argentinas best contemporary writers. In 1992 she was awarded the prestigious Premio Planeta Biblioteca del Sur for her novel Cuando digo Magdalena, since translated into English and available in the Bison Books edition, Call Me Magdalena.

Andrea G. Labinger is a professor of Spanish and the director of the honors program at the University of La Verne in Southern California. Her many translations include Alicia Steimbergs Call Me Magdalena and Carlos Cerdas An Empty House, also available in a Bison Books edition.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

kimbofo, October 14, 2006 (view all comments by kimbofo)
Cecilia, a 50-something widow from Buenos Aires, is an independent and highly educated woman, a writer with a strong network of friends to support her. Why, then, has she allowed herself to be physically and mentally abused by her teenage son?

The Rainforest, by award-winning Latin American writer Alicia Steimberg, explores this conundrum with grace and sensitivity in fluid, almost languid prose that is divided into short, crisp chapters.

In the opening chapter we find Cecilia in an expensive convalescent spa in the Brazilian rainforest. Her stay, funded by a handful of unnamed generous friends, is designed to help her find solace and to come to terms with her familial problems.

Despite her obvious distress, Cecilia unexpectedly falls in love with a North American man, who is also staying at the spa and grappling with emotional issues similar to her own.

In a series of flashbacks and fragmented memories we find out about Cecilia?s past, including the untimely death of her second husband, Dardo, and then the distressing outfall in which her already wayward teenage son, Frederico, becomes addicted to drugs. Paralysed by her own grief, Cecilia lets Frederico run riot. Eventually his inconsiderate and violent behaviour makes Cecilia so uncomfortable in her own home that she is forced to seek refuge in hotels or friend?s homes.

This break down in the relationship between mother and son plagues Cecilia, who feels she must shoulder the blame for his unacceptable behaviour. But at what point should she let go and get on with her own life? If you can't change the past, what do you do about the future? And if you are presented with a second chance of happiness should you take it?

While I enjoyed this book enormously -- the writing has a peculiarly comforting rhythm and a deep meditative quality to it -- I have to admit that I found some of Cecilia's behaviour and her inability to take control of situations frustrating.

The book also posed many unanswered questions: what happened to Cecilia's two older sons? Why had they not come to her assistance when she needed it? And why was she able to come and go from the spa as and when she felt like it when surely the whole point was to cut herself off until she was 'healed'?

Ultimately, though, this is a very mature, adult novel that explores themes of loss, redemption and the human desire to find our place in the world. And, if nothing else, The Rainforest, which is not really about the rainforest at all, says much about the sometimes-tortured relationships women have with husbands, sons and lovers. More, please.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780803293298
Author:
Steimberg, Alicia
Publisher:
Bison Books
Translator:
Labinger, Andrea G.
Author:
Labinger, Andrea G.
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series:
Latin American Women Writers
Publication Date:
20060931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
142
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.5 in 0.4 lb

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General Medicine

The Rainforest (Latin American Women Writers) New Trade Paper
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Product details 142 pages Bison Books - English 9780803293298 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , The story of a lonely woman who seeks a connection to nature at a Brazillian spa, hoping to find solace for her body and spirit.
"Synopsis" by ,

For middle-aged Cecilia, the rainforest represents both solace and tenuously controlled danger, as she discovers when she follows the same path each day from her hotel at a Brazilian spa into the surrounding jungle. Although her daily forays are designed to help leave her painful past behind, Cecilias thoughts return to her deceased husband, her drug-addicted son, and her own place in the world. These thoughts are her only company until the present intrudes once more in the unlikely form of a fellow patient at the spa, a North American man who might represent a second chance.

In The Rainforest, the award-winning novelist Alicia Steimberg offers the reader new definitions of happiness and mature love—or perhaps simply the reassurance that in life, nothing is ever quite as terrible as one fears or quite as glorious as one remembers.

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