I learned about Eduardo Galeano from our featured poet a few years back, Professor Gemino Abad. While this book was gifted to me a year ago, it is only now that I have consumed it, which I feel is perfect timing since it fits our current reading theme perfectly.
Given how we are also hosting the Literary Voyage Around the World Reading Challenge, this is another book that has allowed me to travel to a heretofore-unknown country – Uruguay!
Written by Eduardo Galeano
Published by W. W. Norton and Company (1992 – first published 1989). Original Title: El libro de los abrazos
Book was given to me as a gift. Book photos taken by me.
Eduardo Galeano is recognized as one of Uruguay’s foremost authors, along the lines of Gabriel Garcia Marquez in Colombia. He was born in Montevideo in Uruguay in 1940 and passed away in 2015. Wikipedia refers to him as the Literary Giant of the Latin American Left, and after reading this part-parable, part-memoir, part-strange-musings-about-class-struggles, part-manifesto, I could understand why.
The book consists of very brief vignettes that reflect Galeano’s observations about society, people, love, and life in general. What makes it even more special is that it contains Galeano’s art as well, indicating how multi-talented this giant of a man had been.
I am particularly moved by how he gave tribute to the power of voice and language, and how he used his remarkable skill in providing voice to the marginalized – those who are perceived as nobodies (see quotes below):
It took me awhile to finish reading this book – primarily because I did not want it to end. Each page was like a tasty morsel that nourished me to the core of my being, providing me with a certainty that I needed to hear. He possessed this no-nonsense manner of permeating artifice, stripping away its falsehood, revealing it in all its garish beauty, its loathsome reality, yet remaining luminous nonetheless.
Reading Galeano was like being given this hearty meal of beef pochero complete with chorizo, after being fed a steady diet of cotton candy or french fries. This, right here, is simply the real deal. Given the current state of the world today, with so many lunatics in positions of power, Galeano’s words filled me, providing me with the energy, clarity, and sustenance required to continue fighting the good fight. Find him. Read him.
#LitWorld2018GB Update: 23 of 40 – Uruguay