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« Invincible till pushed?...(omar) | Main | biographies.google.com (Cyrus) »

January 24, 2011

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Galeano sounds like one of my favorite Bengali authors - Syed Mujtaba Ali. Wikipedia and other profiles on the 'net are woefully inadequate in describing Ali's talent for humor, brevity and his deep grasp of wide ranging subjects. I have read and re-read his books beginning in my late teens. His travelogue / history of Afghanistan, Deshe Bideshe (listed in the Wiki link) remains a special favorite to this day. I read it again in 2001 shortly after the Afghan war was launched and was struck by how little things have changed in that benighted country. Like many good writings in a language far removed from English, his books are virtually impossible to translate into English. This is particularly true because his brilliant vignettes on history, language, religion etc. were often satirical and therefore heavily peppered with colloquial usage of both eastern and western Bengali dialects, tangential wanderings and obscure historical references. Although Ali was a polyglot himself, he chose to write only in Bengali.

Also, the annotations on the chapters are great.

... they are my edits of Galeano's own words.

If you love short fiction, may I suggest "Pieces for the Left Hand," by J. Robert Lennon? Less stories and more extended anecdotes, each piece lasts between one and three pages, and almost without fail manages to evoke deep emotion, elicit a chuckle, or present a complex moral quandary. It's perfect when you have five minutes and want to wake up a sleeping brain. Highly suggested!

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