Antipodes: Stories Paperback – May 12 2005
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Padilla, one of Mexico's foremost young writers, presents a handful of eclectic modern-day fables. A Scottish engineer is abandoned in the Gobi desert, and the nomadic peoples that rescue him treat him as a god, rebuilding the city of Edinburgh among the desert dunes. An unusual plague devastates an already devastated tribe in the Amazon. An eccentric Englishman decides to climb Mount Everest as his dying act, and when he mysteriously disappears, he becomes the stuff of legends. A mystical monk of an unspecified era seeks the devil in the desert. A British officer tries to make the trains run on time in colonial Africa, but finds he is thwarted in unlikely ways. Padilla's collection of stories spans the world and the ages, as he brings us from the Mongolian desert to the Dutch East Indies. His stories, placed within history, tell of colonialism gone amok, of spirituality gone awry, bringing a beautiful, surreal narrative to the ways our history has been shaped. Michael Spinella
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“A writer of outstanding gifts.” ―Barry Unsworth, The New York Times Book Review
“Told with irony and zest...All seeming antipodes...are right at home and perfectly natural in Padilla's realm, making for a rich, complex texture against which he weaves his spell.” ―Los Angeles Times
“Defiantly cosmopolitan...Padilla is a potent voice in Latin American literature today.” ―The Miami Herald
“Spans time and place as the story moves from one colorful character to another.” ―Hispanic
“One of Mexico's foremost young writers presents a handful of eclectic modern-day fables...His stories, placed within history, tell of colonialism gone amok, of spirituality gone awry, bringing a beautiful, surreal narrative to the ways our history has been shaped.” ―BooklistSee all Product Description
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Mr. Padilla seems to be right smack in the Latin American writers' tradition of magic realism. I understand a new novel will be translated soon into English. I can't wait to read it.
Every story is well crafted and character-driven; the settings large, the stories intimate and inviting. Padilla has obviously spent his energies wisely in his choice of words, his characters' plight, and his landscapes' depth.
This book was just a delight to read. It will be one of those books that I look forward to sharing with new people again and again.
A Guide to my Book Rating System:
1 star = The wood pulp would have been better utilized as toilet paper.
2 stars = Don't bother, clean your bathroom instead.
3 stars = Wasn't a waste of time, but it was time wasted.
4 stars = Good book, but not life altering.
5 stars = This book changed my world in at least some small way.
However, if you want a chuckle on perfect health or minimal need for sleep Padilla will provoke both thought and laughter. My favorite image is that of paintings "quite simply wearing away from being looked at so much." Not even time is reliable in Rhodesia when settlers are afflicted with "nkalo." War becomes a calculation of odds - based on authentic vs. imitation weapons. Padilla's story worlds are inventive and amusing but not quite compelling in the manner of Borges or Pelevin. Padilla is clearly an author worth watching in his development.