Book 882 Alvaro Mutis – The Adventure and Misadventures of Maqroll : Triptych on Sea and Land

Finally the final Maqroll story.  In a way after reading the first three stories I had a feeling that the remaining ones wouldn’t be as great and I was right. By these standards then the last tale will be the weakest.

Well I would say both yes and no. The final novella is indeed a triptych of short stories about people who have been influenced or cursed by Maqroll. One is a Norwegian Captain, the other is a painter and the third focuses on Maqroll’s best friend Abdul Bashur’s son Jamil. The first two stories are ok but it’s the third one which tugs the heartstrings. You could say that it’s a sort of re telling of Hemingway’s  The Old Man and the Sea. That is, it’s about two generations forming a bond and  learning from each other. I loved this section so much that I closed the book with a grin on my face. At least it ended in style.

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Overall I enjoyed these seven novellas (and the translation is brilliant), true some more than others but they did flesh out the character of Maqroll and make him very distinctive. You could say that he’s part Don Quixote with some Robin Hood mixed in for good measure.  Maybe my only complaint would be that I would prefer reading the novellas separately than in one huge chunky novel but it’s a small complaint. I was very pleased to discover and read a part of South America’s  literary heroes.

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