Volume II of Galeano's collage of dramatized historical snippets about the Americas, North and South--this focusing on 1701...

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MEMORY OF FIRE: Faces and Masks

Volume II of Galeano's collage of dramatized historical snippets about the Americas, North and South--this focusing on 1701 to 1900, the era of the very worst of colonial depredation against the Indians of both continents. But here, as with the previous volume, the rhythm established by Galeano's leftist shibboleths becomes wearying and expectable early on: there will be Edenic fragments about the Indians left alone, decadence-decrying ones about the European influences (though there are exceptions, such as a paean to Levi Strauss and his jeans). The dice are loaded at every turn: Guatemalan Indians in 1774 ""recognize themselves in Jesus, who was condemned without proof, as they are; but they adore the cross not as a symbol of his immolation, but because the cross has the shape of the fruitful meeting of rain and soil."" Galeano's historical researches have color to them, it's true--they range wide and far--but the tint is so insistent that they rarely surprise. Dedicated to ""Tomas Borge, to Nicaragua,"" the entire enterprise could conceivably fit right in as a Sandinista schoolbook--especially for older kids attuned to its ironies, pious and party-line though they are.

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 1986

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1986