This remarkably comprehensive anthology showcases the work of 52 writers, ranging from the 16th-century ``Colonial Period'' to such comparatively little known contemporary storytellers as Cuban Antonio Ben°tez Rojo and Venezuela's JosÇ Balza. Editor Gonz†lez Echevarr°a persuasively argues that this rich literature emerges from a long-established conscious tradition, locates the sources of its preference for short fiction in the influences of travelers' tales and native cultures' story cycles, and has eminently sensible things to say about late-19th-century ``Modernismo'' and the so- called ``Boom'' of the 1960s that brought ``magical realism'' to international attention. Above all, he has chosen stories equally representative of Latin American political and aesthetic (often surrealistic) emphases. Among the best: (Cuban) Alejo Carpentier's ``Journey Back to the Source,'' a story told--most ingeniously--in reverse; Felisberto Hern†ndez's nightmarish ``The Daisy Dolls'' (Uruguay); and Brazilian Joao Guimaraes Rosa's magnificent parabolic tale, ``The Third Bank of the River.'' An essential and wonder-full book.