Short Stories by Latin American Women: The Magic and the Real

A few weeks ago, Susan (bloggin’ ’bout books) tagged me for a Meme in which I was to grab the nearest book, turn to page 123, find the 5th sentence, and copy out the next 3 sentences. The book sitting within reach was Short Stories by Latin American Women: The Magic and the Real, and the three sentences found for the meme give you a glimpse of the powerful stories in this beautiful collection.

Turning to the woman, Don Alcibiades added, “There’s one bullet left. It’s enough for you,” and he left.
The ambiguous mask on her face was unchanged.

I checked this book out from the library 6 weeks ago to read for Melissa’s Expanding Horizons Challenge, with my focus on books and stories by Latin American authors. What a perfect book for my challenge! The short stories are written by very talented writers from many different Latin American countries.

My favorite story was Knight, Death and the Devil, written by Vlady Kociancich, and translated by Alberto Manguel. It’s a story of a knight returning home from the crusades during the Middle Ages only to find that the plague has also arrived, and everything is chaos and death. The images and ideas in this story show how powerful short stories can be.

Vlady Kociancich is Argentine and was a student of Jorge Luis Borges. She has written three novels and has published at least two collections of short stories. I’m particularly interested in her now and would like to read her novel, The Last Days of William Shakespeare, which is not about William Shakespeare, but about culture versus politics in an unnamed Latin American country.

I fell in love with the painting on the cover of this book by Francesca Rota-Loiseau, an Ecuadorian artist. (Click here to see more of her artwork.) I enjoyed reading all the stories included in this Modern Library volume, which was edited by Celia Correas de Zapata and included an introduction by Isabel Allende. I also appreciated the author and translator biographies in the back of the book. I’ve already renewed the book twice, not because it’s taking me a long time to read it, but because I don’t want to let it go. Guess it’s time to order a copy for my own library!

8 thoughts on “Short Stories by Latin American Women: The Magic and the Real

  1. Robin

    Thanks, Melissa. I’m really enjoying this challenge!

    It IS a gorgeous painting, isn’t it, Gentle Reader. I’d love to see it in person!


  2. Eva

    I love that painting! And the book sounds really good. 🙂 About the only Latin American woman author I read is Isabelle Allende, so thanks for some new suggestions.


  3. Robin

    Heather, I think these memes where you have to find these random quotes are a lot of fun. I love quotes anyway, but this is an interesting way to glimpse a book.

    Eva, Isabel Allende wrote the introduction for this collection, and she said that she was very happy to see the publication of these stories because they give voice to so many very talented Latin American women. I really enjoyed reading them.


  4. Francesca Rota-Loiseau

    Thank you dear Readers,

    I am writing as part of the Rota-Loiseau Collective



    We are a group of Latin American Artists working at a 400 year old colonial house in Quito, Ecuador. The collective spans a multitude of Media including, painting, photography, puppeteering, theatre, animation, video, and jewelry and is located in the multicultural and historically rich centre of Quito. At the moment we are trying to raise money for the furthering of restoration work on our house and studio, which, being 400 years old, and, seeing its last restoration in the 40’s, has been a huge part of the work of the collective for the past two years.

    the house and the restoration can be seen on this web portal:

    we are auctioning a series of paintings by Francesca Rota, starting with “La Tala” known, as “Havoc” in English. This Painting is an interpretation of the spirit of the tree, as she watches the destruction of the forest.

    we are trying to publicize this auction to parties that may be interested in contributing– being involved as you are in blogging about Latin American Art, we sure hope that this link will be of interest to you,

    that being said, we admire the work of your organization, and wish you the best,


    Francesca Rota-Loiseau

    and the Rota Loiseau Collective



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