Archive for July, 2012

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Review: Roberto Ampuero’s The Neruda Case in the Washington Post

July 23, 2012

The Neruda Case is the first of Roberto Ampuero’s novels to be published in English — but hopefully not the last in a series that has already captured great international attention. In this book, detective Cayetano Brule remembers his first case and distinguished first client, Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda. Here’s a quick excerpt from my review of the book in the Washington Post:

In the course of his investigation, Cayetano talks with journalists, poets, schoolteachers, government officials and even a literary scholar; battles bureaucracy and political suspicions; is shadowed by Chilean spies and interrogated by East German Stasi; and finds himself inquiring into his client’s character and motivations. In the process, Cayetano travels to Mexico, Cuba, East Germany and Bolivia and becomes increasingly embroiled in Chile’s own political turmoil: economic collapse, food shortages, labor strikes and bursts of violence, all part of the final days of Salvador Allende’s presidency and the brutal beginnings of Augusto Pinochet’s long dictatorship.

But while Cayetano’s quest provides the novel’s narrative thrust, the book ultimately seems more a meditation on Neruda and Chile and even detective fiction itself….

For more, check out the full review here. — Art Taylor

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“Mastering the Art of French Cooking” Earns Two Honors

July 2, 2012

“Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” which was originally published in PANK last fall, won first place in the flash fiction category of the 2012 Press 53 Open Awards last week. An awards ceremony is planned for the annual Wine & Words Fest on Saturday, October 20, at the Community Arts Café in Winston-Salem, NC. The story will be featured in the Press 53 Open Awards Anthology 2012, to be released at that event.

This has been a good year for this story, as it turns out, since a few weeks ago, it was also named a notable story of 2011 as part of the storySouth Million Writers Awards. See the full list of notable stories here.

I’m simply thrilled with the attention that this story has received, and I’m grateful for editors Roxane Gay and Bran Green at PANK for giving it a home in the first place. — Art Taylor

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