The English translation of Isabel Allende’s Maya’s Notebook has finally been released, and here are a few reviews:
From the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christine-bronstein/isabel-allende-interview_b_3139286.html
From Booklist: http://www.booklistonline.com/Maya-s-Notebook-Isabel-Allende/pid=5895420
From the Seattle Times: http://seattletimes.com/html/books/2020798646_bookallendexml.htm
Ok, that’s enough for now. And The New Yorker has a story in its April 22 edition, “Mexican Manifesto,” by the prolific Robert Bolaño. Once again, this blogger wonders whether the Chilean writer really did die in Barcelona a decade ago and might not be in hiding and continuing to produce fiction: http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/features/2013/04/22/130422fi_fiction_bolano
Poet Pablo Neruda was buried alongside his wife Matilde Urrutia at their coastal home in Isla Negra.
Pablo Neruda’s bone samples will be sent to a laboratory at the University of North Carolina for toxin testing, giving investigators a better chance of determining whether the Nobel laureate was poisoned in his hospital room nearly 40 years ago (see earlier posts http://notesontheamericas.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/exhuming-pablo-neruda/ and http://notesontheamericas.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/what-killed-pablo-neruda/). A team of Chilean and foreign forensics specialists are already examining Neruda’s remains and are expected to issue a preliminary report on their findings April 22. Judge Mario Carroza, the Chilean prosecutor in charge of the investigation, told Radio Cooperativa http://www.cooperativa.cl/noticias/cultura/literatura/pablo-neruda/restos-oseos-de-neruda-seran-analizados-en-estados-unidos/2013-04-12/135923.html that Neruda’s casket cannot be returned to the grave site until he receives the forensics reports. Rodolfo Reyes, a lawyer and the late poet’s nephew, said the Neruda family wants investigators to “take all the time in the world so that no doubt remains.”
On a more pleasant note, here’s a link to the Fundacion Neruda web page on Isla Negra, where the poet is buried: http://www.fundacionneruda.org/en/isla-negra/history.html
Olga Weisfeiler, whose brother disappeared on a hiking trip to Chile in 1985, is making her 13th trip to the country to press for a resolution in the case. In August of last year an investigating judge ordered the arrest of eight retired police and military officials in connection with the kidnapping and disappearance of Boris Weisfeiler, a mathematics professor at Penn State University and experienced backcountry trekker. But since then there have been no significant developments in the investigation, and Olga Weisfeiler is meeting with the U.S. ambassador in Santiago as well as Chilean officials to discuss the case. A story in the Boston Globe reports that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has taken an interest in the Weisfeiler disappearance: http://bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2013/03/31/for-newton-woman-quest-for-closure-continues-brother-disappearance-chile-three-decades-ago/M20LMeXq9Z24sodZnNDMSP/story.html
The New York Times book review has an article on Chilean novelist Alejandro Zamba’s three short works, “Bonsai,” “The Private Lives of Trees” and “Ways of Going Home.”http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/31/books/review/ways-of-going-home-by-alejandro-zambra.html?ref=books
The Centro de Investigacion Periodistica (CIPER) has a story http://ciperchile.cl/2013/03/06/empresa-de-la-universidad-de-harvard-es-procesada-por-tala-ilegal-de-bosque-nativo-en-chiloe/ on companies owned by Harvard University accused of illegal logging in southern Chile. The I Love Chile news web site has the English version of the story: http://www.ilovechile.cl/2013/03/20/harvard-university-companies-accused-illegal-logging-chilo/83237
The New York Daily News has an article on harvesting water from fog in the Atacama desert, noting that “fog catchers” made of giant mesh nettings held by pipes are revolutionizing life in the world’s driest desert, “to the point where small-scale agriculture has become possible.” http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/world-driest-desert-chile-harvests-water-fog-article-1.1304082
Marcelo Montecino, whose photographs illustrate my second book, The General’s Slow Retreat: the Pinochet Regime in Chile, has recently published his own book, a photographic memoir of five decades in Latin America.
He told me the book, Marcelo Montecino: 50 Años, came about as a request from the publisher, Pehuén Editores, to do a book of his best work. “I essentially had the choice of doing an “art book” or a sort of memoir,” he said. “I chose the latter so as to show all sides of my life as a photographer, my early stumblings, confusion and search for a theme and a style. The coup (in 1973) helped me find my way.”
This is the publisher’s web site, and they’ll probably ship overseas: http://www.pehuen.cl/catalogo/fotografia-patrimonial/marcelo-montecino-2.html
And this is Montecino’s Flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcelo_montecino/ and his blog: http://marcelomontecino.blogspot.co.uk/
And here are two of his favorite photos from the book:
Quito, Ecuador 1982
Santiago, 1964. A scene near the Mapocho River.
Francisco Goldman discusses the late Chilean author’s work and reads the short story “Clara” in a podcast on the New Yorker magazine’s book blog: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/
And the online literary magazine The Millions has a thoughtful essay on Bolaño’s Woes of the True Policeman, the latest of his works to be released posthumously: http://www.themillions.com/2013/01/woes-of-the-posthumous-novel-on-roberto-bolanos-latest.html
Nearly 600,000 homes in Santiago were without water for two days when flooding and mudslides fouled three processing plants operated by the Aguas Andinas utility company. Water World quotes a Chilean water expert who said the utility company seemed not to have any emergency measures in place to cope with the crisis. http://www.waterworld.com/news/2013/01/22/emergency-measures-in-place-to-prevent-water-crisis-in-santiago-expert.html
More on the subject of water: the Guardian newspaper’s sustainable business section has an article—or paid feature—by Anglo American on plans for a desalinization project in the Atacama desert. http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-business/securing-water-communities-chile-anglo-american
United Press International reports on Chile’s expanding activity in the Antarctic, with President Sebastian Pinera making his third visit and planting the Chilean flag on the site of a new base that will be the closest to the South Pole of all nations claiming a presence on the continent. http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2013/01/23/Chile-expands-Antarctica-presence/UPI-52761358952132/
The Santiago Times has a piece on plans for preclinical trials for what might be the world’s first alcoholism vaccine: http://www.santiagotimes.cl/chile/science-technology/25637-worlds-first-alcoholism-vaccine-to-run-preclinical-trial-in-chile
Chilean writer Alejandro Zambra’s novel, Ways of Going Home, is the subject of an admiring review in the California Literary Review http://calitreview.com/34671 . An excerpt:
Zambra’s fictional narrator writes, “I thought about my mother, my father. I thought: What kinds of faces do my parents have? But our parents never really have faces. We never learn to truly look at them.” Ways of Going Home is a mirror Zambra holds up to his generation’s parents, in an effort to see them clearly, to make sense of a past that is not clearly shown in documentaries and books about Chile, and in so doing to navigate his way forward as an adult.
It’s the second book by the late Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño to be published this year, and rarely has a dead author been so prolific. An essay in the New Republic’s online literary review, The Book http://www.tnr.com/book/review/the-roberto-bola%C3%B1o-bubble# reviews Woes of the True Policeman, noting that in structure and style the novel resembles Bolaño’s 2666, a bestseller released four years ago. But Bolaño left specific instructions for 2666 to be published, which he did not do for this novel and reviewer Sam Carter described Woes as “a rough sketch of ideas that were fully realized in 2666.”
The essay also asks if there aren’t hidden costs in a publisher catering to the Bolaño cult, releasing his unpublished writing as finished books instead of scholarly collections of papers. “The continued publication and popular packaging of his incomplete work may actually be diluting his reputation as a writer of varied talents and fearless ambition,” Carter writes.
And there may be more Bolaño books in the pipeline. A Lumpen Novella, written a year before his death in 2003, has yet to be translated and there is a manuscript entitled Diorama that has not been published in Spanish or translated into English..
Here’s a video review of my book, The General’s Slow Retreat: Chile after Pinochet. This comes from East Tennessee State University:
Asociacion Ilicita describes the activities of the Pinochet regime’s security forces.
It was the sort of incident you’d associate with the Pinochet years: intruders enter the home of an investigative journalist and steal his laptop, leaving other valuables untouched. But this past Saturday that is what happened to Mauricio Weibel, a Chilean reporter for the German news agency Deutsche-Presse Agentur (DPA) and coauthor of a recent book on the military regime’s security apparatus, Asociacion Ilicita.
Weibel told the digital newspaper El Mostrador (http://www.elmostrador.cl/noticias/pais/2012/12/17/periodista-sufre-robo-de-computador-que-contenia-investigacion-sobre-dictadura-militar/) that thieves stole two laptops, one containing research for his work as a journalist. “That same afternoon a man was discovered photographing my house and fled when family friends asked him to identify himself,” he said. Chilean police visited the home, and Weibel had a conversation with Interior Minister Andres Chadwick, who assured him he would be protected. But then another robbery occurred: intruders entered the property and stole tools from Weibel’s patio.
And on the same day Weibel’s computers were stolen, intruders entered the home of another Chilean journalist, Javier Rebolledo, author of another book on the Pinochet regime’s security forces, La Danza de los Cuervos, and stole a computer disc. Reporters Without Borders has a piece on the case and other attempts to intimidate Chilean journalists: http://en.rsf.org/chile-break-in-at-home-of-reporter-who-16-12-2012,43799.html.
This blogger has a rare chance to visit a certain Latin American country where internet access is limited and expensive. But I’ll resume at the end of this month.