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13 February 1992
Pablo Neruda: Absence and Presence 
by Luis Poirot, translated by Alastair Reid.
Norton, 185 pp., £25, March 1991, 0 393 02770 8
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Adios, Poeta 
by Jorge Edwards.
Tusquets Editores, 335 pp., ptas 1,800, November 1990, 84 7223 191 7
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... According to his friend from a younger generation, the Chilean writer and diplomat Jorge Edwards, the most enigmatic thing about Pablo Neruda was the way he could switch in one bound, so to speak, from solitude to sociability. This poet of the sea and of lonely places was also one of the most gregarious people Edwards has ever known ...
26 July 1990
... I was interested only in Medieval Spanish literature. Now I can’t understand it: how could I? Jorge Guzman is an academic and a novelist – a highly intelligent and articulate man who was surprised to find himself talking to me about things he had never discussed with anyone before: about, for instance, the differences in experience and perception ...

A Show of Heads

Carlos Fuentes

19 March 1987
I the Supreme 
by Augusto Roa Bastos, translated by Helen Lane.
Faber, 433 pp., £9.95, March 1987, 0 571 14626 0
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... Cuba’s Alejo Carpentier, the Dominican Republic’s Juan Bosch and Chile’s José Donoso and Jorge Edwards (one of them promised to take on a Bolivian dictator). When the project fell through, three of these authors went on to write fulllength novels of their own: Carpentier’s El Recurso del Método (Reasons of State), García Marquez’s El ...
5 June 1986
An Insular Possession 
by Timothy Mo.
Chatto, 593 pp., £9.95, May 1986, 0 7011 3078 4
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The Story of Zahra 
by Hanan al-Shaykh.
Quartet, 184 pp., £8.95, April 1986, 0 7043 2546 2
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The Lightning of August 
by Jorge Ibarguengoitia.
Chatto, 117 pp., £8.95, May 1986, 0 7011 3950 1
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... snack which tries the jaw for size and strength, sold in Britain as the doner-kebab. With Jorge Ibarguengoitia’s The Lightning of August, we move from history as tragedy to history as farce: a Mexican revolution of 1929. In common with Mo’s and al-Shaykh’s novels, it contains a short section apparently anchoring it to the real world. The ...

Faber Book of Groans

Christopher Ricks

1 March 1984
Required Writing: Miscellaneous Pieces 1955-1982 
by Philip Larkin.
Faber, 315 pp., £4.95, November 1983, 0 571 13120 4
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... Sometimes things are such that he does have to press on to give the Reply Churlish (‘Who’s Jorge Luis Borges?’), and the Reproof Valiant (What do you think about Mrs Thatcher? ‘Oh, I adore Mrs Thatcher’), and even the Countercheck Quarrelsome (‘Oh, for Christ’s sake, one doesn’t study poets!’). But like Touchstone, he is not cut out for ...

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