CELESTE GOES DANCING And Other Stories by Norman Thomas--Ed. di Giovanni

CELESTE GOES DANCING And Other Stories

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Fourteen Argentinian stories--all written or published in the 1980's (some have appeared in the US in Fiction Network and Translation) and notable for their brevity as well as their diversity: they range from brief fable and satire to political allegory. In Silvina Ocampo's ""The Drawing Lesson,"" very Borgean, an artist meets her younger self in a fable set in the Twenties: ""Growing older is the worst invention in the world."" Adolfo Bioy Casares' ""The Windowless Room""--about an Argentinian tourist trapped in East Berlin with an Italian who decides to stay--may be dated by recent events, but its Kafkaesque plot, again, is successfully Filtered through the magically realistic influence of Borges. Other notables: in ""Mule,"" by Jorge Asis, a traveling salesman (religious artifacts) bears an amazing resemblance to Mule, a dead village-hero whom "". . .even the dogs wept for""; the salesman assumes Mule's identity and disappoints everyone--proving, it seems, that the myth can be memorialized but not embodied. The title story, by Estela dos Santos, is a wonderfully lyrical impression of urban street-life, complete with tango dancing, in the 1930's. ""The Visitation,"" by Fernando Sorrentino, is a nicely elegiac portrait of the dybbuk of a dead tramp who haunts suburban Buenos Aires in the 60's. And ""Short Story Contest,"" by Marcos Aguinis, about a writing competition sponsored by a grocery store, is an incisive satire of literary culture. A useful introduction, then, to the international short-fiction scene--and a welcome complement to a number of North American stow annuals.

Pub Date: June 13th, 1990
Publisher: North Point