9780879231972 / 0879231971

Charleston & other stories


Publisher:D. R. Godine



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About the book:

In the world of José Donoso, all is not what it seems. Behind the bland rituals of everyday life lurk impulses that can disturb and even destroy. In these crisp, impeccably written stories, the great Chilean writer follows with precision and compassion the emergence of such impulses: an otherwise nondescript office worker becomes crazed by a bizarre obsession that at first seems innocent enough; an American boy living in a remote Mexican village is destroyed by forces beyond his control; a man is overpowered by his passion for sleeping. Many of these stories are explorations of perception. Children play large parts in them, either as participants or as perceivers; with their peculiar sensitivity they are aware of what their elders recognize only dimly, if at all. In "Ana María," a charming but somehow terrifying child undermines the lives of an elderly couple; in "A Walk," the disintegration of a formal bourgeois household is observed through the eyes of a boy. But for all the subtleties of these tales, Donoso is first and foremost a story teller. They begin, as do all stories, but unlike some stories, they also end firmly with the reader carried along from first word to last.

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