BLACK RAINBOW: Legends of the Incas and Myths of Ancient Peru by John Bierhorst

BLACK RAINBOW: Legends of the Incas and Myths of Ancient Peru

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KIRKUS REVIEW

No random assortment, this arrangement of twenty selections unfolds in chronological order the legends of several early Incas (rulers, considered direct descendants of the sun) and then shifts gradually to various tales of strange pairings--some of them stark and ancient, others evidently modified by European recorders. The opening legends, more interesting as cultural artifacts than as fiction, tell of conquests, tyranny, and divine intervention in the Incas' battles; the tales of matings and marriages--not a conventional love story among them--deal frequently with human girls impregnated or tricked into marriage by shape-changing animals or of boys attempting to hold onto nonhuman wives. Bierhorst's analysis of these last is brilliant, and as usual, his notes and introduction are models of scholarship and responsibility.

Pub Date: Oct. 27th, 1976
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux