ABOUT THIS BOOK
Julio Ramón Ribeyro has been widely acclaimed Peru's master storyteller. Until now, however, few of his stories have been translated into English. This volume brings together fifteen stories written during the period 1952-1975, which were collected in the three volumes of La palabra del mudo. Ribeyro's stories treat the social problems brought about by urban expansion, including poverty, racial and sexual discrimination, class struggles, alienation, and violence. At the same time, elements of the fantastic playfully interrupt some of the stories. More importantly, Ribeyro’s characters are culturally diverse, yet they share a common destiny—a life nourished by illusions that falls short of their expectations and invariably leads to solitude. As the characters become swept up in circumstances beyond their understanding, Ribeyro shows that the only freedom or dignity left them comes from their own imaginations. The fifteen stories included here are “Terra Incognita,” “Barbara,” “The Featherless Buzzards,” “Of Modest Color,” “The Substitute Teacher,” “The Insignia,” “The Banquet,” “Alienation (An Instructive Story with a Footnote),” “The Little Laid Cow,” “The Jacaranda Trees,” “Bottles and Men,” “Nothing to Do, Monsieur Baruch,” “The Captives,” “The Spanish,” and “Painted Papers.” These stories represent well the sense of compassion Ribeyro has for his characters. They also reveal the humor, melancholy, and philosophical tone that Ribeyro brings to his fictional world—a world that entertains, teaches, and ultimately touches the reader.