Meyer has collected literary essays that train on the personal situations and positions of Latin American writers--and the essays, in impact, are as different as the writers themselves. Generationally, politically, vernacularly, the range here is wide--and with the exception of Borges and Octavio Paz, not terribly encouraging. Voices of Marxist propaganda (Alejo Carpentier, Nicolas Guillen, Ernesto Cardenal) or--alas--dupery (Julio CortÃ¡zar) or too-suave trimming (Carlos Fuentes) ring with hollowness against the testimony of political repression (Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Heberto Padilla). But Jose Donoso contributes a generously thoughtful overview of exile, and Elena Poniatowska measures her work on an attractively intimate scale of sympathy; the younger Antonio Skarmeta redefines the Latin American writer in the post-Boom era. For students of this literature, engaging and probably essential.