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Languages are vast realities that transcend those political and historical entities we call nations. The European languages we speak in the Americas illustrate this. The special position of our literatures when compared to those of England, Spain, Portugal and France depends precisely on this fundamental fact: they are literatures written in transplanted tongues. Languages are born and grow from the native soil, nourished by a common history. The European languages were rooted out from their native soil and their own tradition, and then planted in an unknown and unnamed world: they took root in the new lands and, as they grew within the societies of America, they were transformed. They are the same plant yet also a different plant. Our literatures did not passively accept the changing fortunes of the transplanted languages: they participated in the process and even accelerated it. They very soon ceased to be mere transatlantic reflections: at times they have been the negation of the literatures of Europe; more often, they have been a reply. By

Octavio Paz, Nobel Lecture: In Search of the Present, 1990

HBD to Octavio Paz, who would have been 100 today.

Reblogged from hmhbooks  46 notes

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Staff Recommends: We, The Drowned by Carsten Jensen (ebook available)

"The story of a port town in Denmark, told through generations of characters ranging from the 1850s through World War II. This adventurous novel explores all of the things you could ever hope to find in a book about the sea: cannibals, shipwrecks, unsavory characters, and heroes. It is is both hilarious and heart-breaking, thrilling and pensive. Absolutely a new favorite of mine."

Christina

Oh. Oh, how we love this book. 

Winner, 2012 Prix Médicis étranger Winner, 2012 Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger
"[Yehoshua] achieves an autumnal tone as he ruminates on memory’s slippery hold on life and on art."—The New Yorker "Yehoshua’s prose penetrated to a level of psychological understanding that moved me deeply… [His] stories remind us that Israeli literature rightly joins the literature of those other cultures that have earned the right to make of ordinary lives a metaphor for such soul-destroying weariness."—Vivian Gornick, The Nation "An ambitious, engrossing, playfully testamentary novel."—Moment "A pure pleasure… Yehoshua’s best book in years."—Maariv (Israel)
The Retrospective by A.B. Yehoshua is now available in paperback.

Winner, 2012 Prix Médicis étranger 
Winner, 2012 Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger

"[Yehoshua] achieves an autumnal tone as he ruminates on memory’s slippery hold on life and on art."—The New Yorker 

"Yehoshua’s prose penetrated to a level of psychological understanding that moved me deeply… [His] stories remind us that Israeli literature rightly joins the literature of those other cultures that have earned the right to make of ordinary lives a metaphor for such soul-destroying weariness."—Vivian Gornick, The Nation 

"An ambitious, engrossing, playfully testamentary novel."—Moment 

"A pure pleasure… Yehoshua’s best book in years."—Maariv (Israel)

The Retrospective by A.B. Yehoshua is now available in paperback.