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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction



Complete Works and Other Stories

by
Augusto Monterroso


general information | review summaries | our review | links | about the author

To purchase Complete Works and Other Stories



Title: Complete Works and Other Stories
Author: Augusto Monterroso
Genre: Stories
Written: 1959/72
Length: 152 pages
Original in: Spanish
Availability: Complete Works and Other Stories - US/pbk
Complete Works and Other Stories - US/hardcover
Obras Completas Y Otros Cuentos - US
Complete Works and Other Stories - UK
Complete Works and Other Stories - Canada
Oeuvres complètes et autres contes - France
Das gesamte Werk und andere Fabeln - Deutschland

  • A translation of two separate volumes of Monterroso's work: Obras completas (y otros cuentos) (1959) and Movimiento perpetuo (1972).
  • Translated by Edith Grossman
  • English translation first published 1995

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Our Assessment:

A : sparkling ideas and prose.

See our review for fuller assessment.




Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Choice A- 6/1996 S.T.Clark
Publishers Weekly . 27/11/1995 .
Review of Cont. Fiction A- Summer/1996 Brian Evenson
World Lit. Today . Autumn/1996 .

  From the Reviews:
  • "Monterroso offers a wide range of short fiction that is at once entertaining and scintillating" - Brian Evenson, Review of Contemporary Fiction

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       Occasionally one stumbles over a book, without expectations, and finds a small gem -- and wonders how it can have gone unnoticed so long. Monterroso is, of course, not unnoticed. Anyone who reads Spanish literature will be familiar with this influential (to say the least) Guatemalan author. The problem is that his work has not been sufficiently translated. This 1995 collection (combining two of his collections, published in Spanish in 1959 and 1972 respectively !) is only the second collection to appear in English.
       Monterroso is the real deal. It is difficult to categorize him on the basis of this small amount of work, but his beautifully crafted stories, some only a line or paragraph in length are a revelation. (We have since also read his collection The Black Sheep (see our review) -- no longer in print -- and feel safe in judging him one of the major Latin American authors.) His humor is on target and sharp, his inventions clever, his philosophy profound and generous. Comparisons to Borges and Calvino are not out of order. A master of detail, succinct and profound, and his work a simple, thought-provoking, multi-layered pleasure to read this author is one of the finer discoveries we have made in recent years.
       An example, warily offered: the second half of the collection begins, in the story Flies, with the words: "There are three themes: love, death, and flies," a sentence more likely than it might sound at first reading -- and each further story then is offered with an epigraph in some way relating to flies. No, no King Lear -- instead: Wittgenstein, Weininger, Richard Burton (the real one, not him of Cleopatric fame), Cicero, Yeats and others are quoted.
       All in all: quite brilliant. He is highly recommended.

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Links:

Complete Works and Other Stories: Reviews: Augusto Monterroso:
  • Cuentos - Textos electrónicos completos (Spanish)
Other books by Augusto Monterroso under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Augusto Monterroso, Guatemalan author, born in 1921 in Honduras, resident of Mexico since 1956. Winner of the Mexican Xavier Villaurrutia Prize in 1996 and the Prince of Asturias Award for Letters 2000. He died 7 February 2003.

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