Today I want to pay tribute to one of my favourite South American writers, Alvaro Mutis.
By way of introduction
“These disasters, these decisions that are wrong from the start, these dead ends that constitute the story of my life, are repeated over and over again. A passionate vocation for happiness, always betrayed and misdirected, ends in a need for total defeat; it is completely foreign to what, in my heart of hearts, I’ve always known could be mine if it weren’t for this constant desire to fail.”
“Her blue-black hair was as dense as honey and fell to shoulders as straight as those of the kouros in the Athens Museum. Her narrow hips, curving gently into long, somewhat full legs, recalled statues of Venus in the Vatican Museum and gave her erect body a definitive femininity that immediately dispelled a certain boyish air. Large, firm breasts completed the effect of her hips.”
(See reference 3)
The Tramp Steamer’s Last Port of Call
Short Biography (Source: New York Review of Books)
Álvaro Mutis was born in 1923 in Bogotá, Colombia. As a child he lived in Brussels, returning to Bogotá to complete his education. He has lived in Mexico since 1956. Mutis is the author of poetry, short stories, and novels. His first poems were published in 1948, his first short stories in 1978, and his first novella, The Snow of the Admiral—the initial volume of the Maqroll series—in 1986. He has received many literary awards, including the Prix Medicis in 1989 and, most recently, the 2002 Neustadt Prize for Literature.
1. BOMB Magazine Interview
2. From Johns Hopkins University’s online site: Diary of Lecumberri
3. The New Yorker, John Updike reviews Mutis’ book: “The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll”.
4. Peter Orner’s Brief Thoughts