These prize-winning short stories have certain qualities in common. They are detached, mostly by a literary style, but also in their themes of loss, alienation, failure of human relations, and an omnipotent sense of revolution and sudden death. The culture they present reflects, perhaps, the South American writer's own predicament of belonging to a special isolated, intellectual group, between the very rich and very poor. The best story in the collection (the first-prize winner), skillfully evades this gap in a fantasy about a lonely old woman taken in by a mad girl who mistakes the woman for her own mother. The rest are either romantic, as in the tale of strikers about to be executed, which is realistic up to the point where the hero and his girl escape; or realistic near-journalism, as in one long, episodic story about strikers, communists, and farmers; or a somewhat literary and romantic combination of the two, stories that are often very good in themselves, but oddly Europeanized. An interesting collection of writers striving to create a style and intellectual consciousness in a much-divided continent.