MACHO CAMACHO’S BEAT by Luis Rafael Sánchez


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Well-known as a man of letters in his native Puerto Rico, where he recently retired as a professor, Sánchez made a splash as a novelist here in 1980, when his book was translated by the legendary Rabassa, who for this edition provides an introduction explaining the specific challenge of capturing Sánchez’s demotic epic, with its song-inspired slanginess. Fortunately, Sánchez’s Joycean tale of a day in the life of contemporary San Juan owes much of its spirit to American popular culture. When it was first published, Kirkus admired the way Sánchez strung together his “jaunty” “necklace-like novel” on the beat of the song that streams throughout. He manages to weave “together the sinuous connections of modern Puerto Rican life” with his motley collection of characters. And it’s all fragmented into “percussive, alliterative, stanza-like sections, full of knowing cultural and literary allusions.” Comparing Sánchez to Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Kirkus celebrated this “attractive, small-scale entertainment” and its “tour-de-force translation by el Magnifico.”

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 1-56478-258-1
Page count: 211pp
Publisher: Dalkey Archive
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2001


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