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View Poll Results: Latin America Run-Off May 2012 • The MR Literary Club
Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges, Argentina 4 25.00%
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez, Colombia 6 37.50%
The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas by Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, Brazil 6 37.50%
Voters: 16. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-14-2012, 01:49 PM   #1
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Latin America Run-Off May 2012 • The MR Literary Club

Help us choose the May 2012 selection to read for the MR Literary Club! The run-off poll will be open for one day.

In the event of a tie, the tie will be resolved in favour of the tied selection that received all of its initial nominations first.


Select from the following works:


Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges, Argentina
Spoiler:
From Amazon:

The seventeen pieces in Ficciones demonstrate the whirlwind of Borges’s genius and mirror the precision and potency of his intellect and inventiveness, his piercing irony, his skepticism, and his obsession with fantasy. Borges sends us on a journey into a compelling, bizarre, and profoundly resonant realm; we enter the fearful sphere of Pascal’s abyss, the surreal and literal labyrinth of books, and the iconography of eternal return. To enter the worlds in Ficciones is to enter the mind of Jorge Luis Borges, wherein lies Heaven, Hell, and everything in between.


Reading Jorge Luis Borges is an experience akin to having the top of one's head removed for repairs. First comes the unfamiliar breeze tickling your cerebral cortex; then disorientation, even mild discomfort; and finally, the sense that the world has been irrevocably altered--and in this case, rendered infinitely more complex. First published in 1945, his Ficciones compressed several centuries' worth of philosophy and poetry into 17 tiny, unclassifiable pieces of prose. He offered up diabolical tigers, imaginary encyclopedias, ontological detective stories, and scholarly commentaries on nonexistent books, and in the process exploded all previous notions of genre. Would any of David Foster Wallace's famous footnotes be possible without Borges? Or, for that matter, the syntactical games of Perec, the metafictional pastiche of Calvino? For good or for ill, the blind Argentinian paved the way for a generation's worth of postmodern monkey business--and fiction will never be simply "fiction" again.

Its enormous influence on writers aside, Ficciones has also--perhaps more importantly--changed the way that we read. Borges's Pierre Menard, for instance, undertakes the most audacious project imaginable: to create not a contemporary version of Cervantes's most famous work but the Quixote itself, word for word. This second text is "verbally identical" to the original, yet, because of its new associations, "infinitely richer"; every time we read, he suggests, we are in effect creating an entirely new text, simply by viewing it through the distorting lens of history. "A book is not an isolated being: it is a relationship, an axis of innumerable relationships," Borges once wrote in an essay about George Bernard Shaw. "All men who repeat one line of Shakespeare are William Shakespeare," he tells us in "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius." In this spirit, Borges is not above impersonating, even quoting, himself.

It is hard, exactly, to say what all of this means, at least in any of the usual ways. Borges wrote not with an ideological agenda, but with a kind of radical philosophical playfulness. Labyrinths, libraries, lotteries, doubles, dreams, mirrors, heresiarchs: these are the tokens with which he plays his ontological games. In the end, ideas themselves are less important to him than their aesthetic and imaginative possibilities. Like the idealist philosophers of Tlön, Borges does not "seek for the truth or even for verisimilitude, but rather for the astounding"; for him as for them, "metaphysics is a branch of fantastic literature." --Mary Park


“Without Borges the modern Latin American novel simply would not exist.” –Carlos Fuentes

“In resounding the note of the marvelous last struck in English by Wells and Chesterson, in permitting infinity to enter and distort his imagination, [Borges] has lifted fiction away from the flat earth where most of our novels and short stories still take place.” –John Updike

“These brief Ficciones have to be read one at a time, and slowly; then they throb with uncanny and haunting power” –The Atlantic Monthly

“Borges is the most important Spanish-language writer since Cervantes.” –Mario Vargas Llosa

“[Borges] engages the heart as well as the intelligence; his genius strikes, undismayed as Theseus, through the labyrinths of our life and time to the accomplishment of new, inspiring and stunningly beautiful work.” –John Barth

“One of the finest, subtlest, and least appreciated of comedians…[Borges is] a central fact of Western culture.” –The Washington Post Book World

“Borges’s composed, carefully wrought, gnarled style is at once the means of his art and its object—his way of ordering and giving meaning to the bizarre and terrifying world he creates: it is a brilliant, burnished instrument, and it is quite adequate to the extreme demands his baroque imagination makes of it . . . . Absolutely and most vividly original.” —Saturday Review


Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez, Colombia
Spoiler:
From Amazon:

Set in a country on the Caribbean coast of South America, this is a story about a woman and two men and their entwined lives. From the author of the legendary One Hundred Years of Solitude.


From Publishers Weekly:

The ironic vision and luminous evocation of South America that have distinguished Garcia Marquez's Nobel Prize-winning fiction since his landmark work, One Hundred Years of Solitude, persist in this turn-of-the-century chronicle of a unique love triangle. It is a fully mature novel in scope and perspective, flawlessly translated, as rich in ideas as in humanity. The illustrious and meticulous Dr. Juvenal Urbino and his proud, stately wife Fermina Daza, respectively past 80 and 70, are in the autumn of their solid marriage as the drama opens on the suicide of the doctor's chess partner. Jeremiah de Saint-Amour, a disabled photographer of children, chooses death over the indignities of old age, revealing in a letter a clandestine love affair, on the "fringes of a closed society's prejudices." This scenario not only heralds Urbino's demise soon afterwhen he falls out of a mango tree in an attempt to catch an escaped parrotbut brilliantly presages the novel's central themes, which are as concerned with the renewing capacity of age as with an anatomy of love. We meet Florentino Ariza, more antihero than hero, a mock Don Juan with an undertaker's demeanor, at once pathetic, grotesque and endearing, when he seizes the memorably unseemly occasion of Urbino's funeral to reiterate to Fermina the vow of love he first uttered more than 50 years before. With the fine detailing of a Victorian novel, the narrative plunges backward in time to reenact their earlier, youthful courtship of furtive letters and glances, frustrated when Fermina, in the light of awaking maturity, realizes Florentino is an adolescent obsession, and rejects him. With his uncanny ability to unearth the extraordinary in the commonplace, Garcia Marquez smoothly interweaves Fermina's and Florentino's subsequent histories. Enmeshed in a bizarre string of affairs with ill-fated widows while vicariously conducting the liaisons of others via love poems composed on request, Florentino feverishly tries to fill the void of his unrequited passion. Meanwhile, Fermina's marriage suffers vicissitudes but endures, affirming that marital love can be as much the product of art as is romantic love. When circumstances both comic and mystical offer Fermina and Florentino a second chance, during a time in their lives that is often regarded as promising only inevitable degeneration toward death, Garcia Marquez beautifully reveals true love's soil not in the convention of marriage but in the simple, timeless rituals that are its cement. 100,000 first printing; first serial to the New Yorker; BOMC main selection.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.


From Library Journal:

While delivering a message to her father, Florentino Ariza spots the barely pubescent Fermina Daza and immediately falls in love. What follows is the story of a passion that extends over 50 years, as Fermina is courted solely by letter, decisively rejects her suitor when he first speaks, and then joins the urbane Dr. Juvenal Urbino, much above her station, in a marriage initially loveless but ultimately remarkable in its strength. Florentino remains faithful in his fashion; paralleling the tale of the marriage is that of his numerous liaisons, all ultimately without the depth of love he again declares at Urbino's death. In substance and style not as fantastical, as mythologizing, as the previous works, this is a compelling exploration of the myths we make of love. Highly recommended. Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.


The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas by Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, Brazil
Spoiler:
Considered to be Brazil’s pre-eminent author. Harold Bloom has described him as "the supreme black literary artist to date."

This is the blurb from Goodreads:

One of the greatest novels of Brazilian Literature, Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas is narrated by a dead man who recounts the amorous misadventures of his unheroic life and explains his half-hearted political ambitions. While it is considered the first novel of Brazilian realism, its quirks seem refreshingly modern and make it unforgettably unlike anything written before or after it.
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Old 05-14-2012, 04:22 PM   #2
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well, I've done my bit, and in fairness to all books, I won't say what I voted for (but I accept bribes )
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Old 05-15-2012, 01:44 PM   #3
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Inkmesh.com only shows a Spanish edition of Ficciones?

http://inkmesh.com/search/?qs=Ficcio...nE=Find+Ebooks

Only Nook Book for Love in the time of Cholera

http://inkmesh.com/ebooks/love-in-ti...García+Márquez

Seems I can get Posthumous Memoirs from Kobo so an easy choice for me.

http://inkmesh.com/ebooks/posthumous...chado+de+Assis
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Old 05-15-2012, 02:32 PM   #4
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Well at least it looks like I need not offer up my three-sided coin . So what happens now?
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Old 05-15-2012, 02:54 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by hpulley View Post
Inkmesh.com only shows a Spanish edition of Ficciones?

http://inkmesh.com/search/?qs=Ficcio...nE=Find+Ebooks
Reading Borges in another language but Spanish is a crime against humanity.
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Old 05-15-2012, 03:49 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Provenzano View Post
Reading Borges in another language but Spanish is a crime against humanity.
... though of course allowed for those who do not speak/understand Spanish
at any rate, isn't Ficciones now out of the running? I think the rule is that in this case it is the book which got nominated first which is selected, so I think Love in the time of Cholera has it.

Last edited by paola; 05-15-2012 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 05-15-2012, 04:10 PM   #7
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Yes, between the two now tied for first, the winner goes to the one first fully nominated, so Love in the Time of Cholera is our official selection for the month!


What a close first vote and run-off all around. I don't think I've seen anything like it in either club the whole time I've been here.

The guidelines were also ironic in this case. We had a run-off this month when there were no "extra" votes to be recast, which is the point of a run-off. And now that we're tied again but do have votes that could be recast, we go to the automatic tie-breaker instead of a run-off. How ironic in both instances! But that's the way it goes. Who could have suspected a scenario like this?

Anyway, though I voted for Borges, I loved the nominations this month and would've been happy with any of the four winning, so I'm looking forward to reading the Garcia Marquez.
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Old 05-16-2012, 04:21 AM   #8
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yes, really bizarre voting!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sun surfer View Post
Anyway, though I voted for Borges, I loved the nominations this month and would've been happy with any of the four winning, so I'm looking forward to reading the Garcia Marquez.
can anyone suggest a good translation? I'm undecided between an English and an Italian one.
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Old 05-16-2012, 04:42 AM   #9
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Yay! Looking forward to finally reading it .

Last edited by orlok; 05-16-2012 at 06:47 AM.
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:44 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by hpulley
Only Nook Book for Love in the time of Cholera

http://inkmesh.com/ebooks/love-in-ti...García+Márquez
Sorry, I now see this is just Nooks Notes, not the actual book.

Edit: or does it have the chapters of the original or translation too?

I have requested a copy from my library. Odd, lately the books I get are pbooks, not ebooks...

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Old 05-27-2012, 10:25 AM   #11
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Jeeze, I was thinking of joining the reading for this month, but I can't find an English translation nor an edición en español in ebook format. Not that I read Spanish, but I'd be willing to give it a shot.
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Old 05-27-2012, 10:43 AM   #12
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Jeeze, I was thinking of joining the reading for this month, but I can't find an English translation nor an edición en español in ebook format. Not that I read Spanish, but I'd be willing to give it a shot.
I've had to resort to the pBook version from the library. I must say I assumed it would be available as an eBook, given its popularity.
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Old 05-27-2012, 04:13 PM   #13
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I've had to resort to the pBook version from the library. I must say I assumed it would be available as an eBook, given its popularity.
same here, should be able to get it tomorrow, at last.
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Old 05-28-2012, 07:45 AM   #14
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I also used my local library as a source for a paper edition. Well worth it, or at least that is my opinion about 1/4 of the way through at the moment.
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Old 05-28-2012, 02:48 PM   #15
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I also used my local library as a source for a paper edition. Well worth it, or at least that is my opinion about 1/4 of the way through at the moment.
grr, I've got to wait one more week to get my hands on it
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